With a major world port at Antwerp, an airport with connections throughout Africa, and its proximity to major consumers in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and The Netherlands, Belgium has become a crucial transit point for a variety of illegal drugs, especially cocaine and heroin. Belgium is not a major market for illicit drugs, nor is it a major producer of illicit drugs or chemical precursors used for the production of illicit drugs. Methods of shipment vary, but most drugs seized have been found in cargo freight, or taken from couriers using air transportation.
Belgian authorities take a proactive approach to interdicting drug shipments and cooperate with the U.S. and other foreign countries to help uncover distribution rings. However, fighting the drug trafficking problem in Belgium can be difficult due to the large ethnic population centers, language, and cultural differences and the cross-border nature of the trafficking trend. Belgium is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention, and is part of the Dublin Group of countries concerned with combating narcotics trafficking.
II. Status of Country
Belgium remains a key transit point for illicit drugs bound for The Netherlands, the U.K. and other points in Western Europe. The majority of large cocaine shipments transiting Belgium are bound for The Netherlands, where Colombian groups continue to dominate drug trafficking. Significant seizures continue to be made from sea and air shipments en route from South and Central America or West Africa. In 2008, a total of 3,852 kilograms of cocaine were interdicted. In 2009 through October, 2,766.7 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated by the Belgian Federal Police (BFP)) and Belgian Customs authorities..
Turkish groups, predominately from the Kurdish region of Turkey, control most of the heroin trafficked in Belgium. This heroin is principally shipped through Belgium and The Netherlands to the U.K. Authorities find it difficult to penetrate Turkish trafficking groups responsible for heroin shipping and trafficking because of the language barrier and Turkish criminal groups' reluctance to work with non-Turkish ethnicities. Belgium consumes an estimated 4 tons of heroin per year, which is mostly accounted for by drug tourism from neighboring countries. Belgian authorities seized a total of 63 kilograms of heroin during 2008. Between January and October 2009, this heroin seizure amount rose to 198.9 kilograms.
Hashish and cannabis remain the most widely distributed and used illicit drugs in Belgium. Although the bulk of the cannabis consumed in Belgium is produced in Morocco, domestic cultivation continues to be encountered. Belgian authorities seized 4,891 kilograms of marijuana and 1,529 kilograms of hashish during 2008. Between January and October 2009, marijuana seizures totaled 378.38 kilograms and hashish seizures totaled 11,563 kilograms. Belgium produces small amounts of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) and Ecstasy. Seizures of ATS and Ecstasy have dropped compared to previous years. During 2007, Belgian authorities seized 483.1 kilograms of amphetamine and 541,245 Ecstasy tablets. These seizure numbers fell in 2008, with 411 kilograms of amphetamine and 162,821 Ecstasy tablets seized. Between January and October 2009, Belgian authorities have seized 34.24 kilograms of amphetamine and 29,331 Ecstasy tablets. Belgium has a substantial pharmaceutical product sector. The country manufactures methamphetamine precursors for licit products to a very limited extent, and it is not a final destination for international shipments of these precursors. The illicit ephedrine diversion market is mainly controlled by Mexicans who purchase both legal (i.e., cold medicine and dietary supplements) and illegal ephedrine, and ship it to Mexico, where it is used to produce methamphetamine for distribution in
the U.S. Since ephedrine is strictly regulated in the U.S., Belgium and other Western European countries have seen an increase in transshipments of ephedrine and other methamphetamine precursors. In instances where precursor diversion for methamphetamine manufacturing purposes was suspected, Belgian authorities have cooperated by executing international controlled deliveries (ICD) to the destinations, or by seizing the shipments when the ICD is not possible.
In the past, Israeli groups controlled most of the MDMA/Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) production and shipping to the U.S., but these organized crime groups have been disrupted by enforcement measures and their influence has diminished.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Belgium is a major supporter for COSPOL (Comprehensive Operational Strategic Planning for the Police), which is a new methodology for multinational police cooperation. This program was created by the Police Chiefs Task Force functioning under direction of the European Union. At a recent COSPOL meeting, Belgian and other EU police officials discussed plans to share information in order to create a database of places indicating where illicit lab equipment and drug producing chemicals are shipped and manufactured. The database also includes information on the trade in drug related chemicals and laboratory materials. Belgium also participates in "Drugwatch", a non-profit information network and advocacy organization that provides policymakers, media and the public with current narcotics information. In cooperation with "Drugwatch", Belgium is participating in a program focused on monitoring the internet to identify narcotic sale and production in Belgium.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Belgian law enforcement authorities actively investigate individuals and organizations involved in illegal narcotics trafficking. In keeping with Belgium's drug control strategy, efforts are focused on combating synthetic drugs, heroin and cocaine, and more recently, cannabis. Belgian authorities continue to cooperate closely and effectively with DEA and U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) officials stationed in Brussels. At Brussels' Zaventem International Airport, non-uniformed police search for drug couriers and continue to be effective in that effort. Authorities utilize canine and aerial apprehension strategies on both the local and federal levels to help fight illicit drug production and shipment in Belgium. The Canine Support Service (DSCH) has trained dog teams to search for drugs. Dog teams are used mostly in airports and train stations, while the Aerial Support Service (DSAS) has made a concerted effort to increase the number of hours it spends in the sky in an attempt to detect drug laboratories across the nation. Belgium participates in a recent initiative to set up a database for European airports. The database is used to transfer narcotic related information to airports throughout Europe in order to increase cooperation among police forces and governments. The Belgian authorities reported the seizure of 13,400,000 ephedrine pills in 2 incidents during 2008. No figures for 2009 are available yet. The shipments seized in 2008 were reportedly destined for Mexico. During 2008, Belgian authorities also encountered and seized 23 liters of GHB, 5,119 kilograms of khat, 55 kilograms of phenacetine, 0.6 kilograms of opium, and 10,240 pills of benzodiazepine. In 2009 up to October, the BFP seized 88.1 liters of GHB, 758.9 kilograms of khat, 55 kilograms of phenacetine, 4.5 kilograms of opium, and 6,180 pills of benzodiazepine.
Corruption. Legal measures exist to combat and punish corruption. While corruption amongst longshoremen and stevedores remains a concern at the Port of Antwerp, no serious cases of corruption of government officials related to drugs have been uncovered in Belgium thus far in 2009. Money laundering has been illegal in Belgium since 1993, and the country's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) (CTIF-CFI) is continually active in efforts to investigate money laundering. No senior official of the Belgian government is known to have engaged in, encouraged or facilitated the illicit production or distribution of drugs and illegal substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Belgium is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Belgium also is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and illegal manufacturing and trafficking of firearms. The U.S. and Belgium have an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). In addition, the two countries have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, which will enter into force on February 1, 2010. Under a bilateral agreement with the U.S., as part of the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI), U.S. Customs officials are stationed at the Port of Antwerp to serve as observers and advisors to Belgian Customs inspectors on U.S.-bound sea freight shipments. Belgium also has an MOU with the USG to carry U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET) on Belgian Navy vessels in the Caribbean Sea.
Cultivation/Production. Belgium's role as a transit point for major drug shipments, particularly heroin and cocaine, is more significant than its own production of illegal drugs. However, cultivation of cannabis increasingly involves elaborate, large-scale indoor operations in Belgium, particularly near The Netherlands, and increasingly in other regions. Dutch traffickers are frequently involved in these production operations. Belgian authorities seized 113,513 marijuana plants during 2008. Initial statistics for this year show that 422 cannabis plantations have been dismantled between January and October 2009 in Belgium. The dismantled plantations had a total capacity of 178,055 plants. Dutch traffickers are also involved in Belgium's production of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS). As Dutch law enforcement pressures mount on producers of Ecstasy and ATS in The Netherlands, some Dutch producers either look to Belgian producers to meet their supply needs, or to establish their own facilities in Belgium. During 2008, Belgian authorities discovered 6 synthetic drug laboratories: 4 amphetamine labs, 1 GHB lab, and 1 Ecstasy lab. Between January and October 2009, Belgian authorities seized 2 synthetic drug laboratories; both described as "kitchen labs", and have also seized 4 synthetic drug waste dumpsites.
Drug Flow/Transit. Belgium is an important transit point for illegal drug trafficking in Europe. It has been estimated that about 25 percent of drugs from South America moving through Europe eventually transit Belgium, especially cocaine. As large share of these drugs are ultimately shipped to the U.K., The Netherlands, and other points in Western Europe. Antwerp's port continues to be one of the preferred transit points for cocaine imported to Europe. The flow of cocaine to Belgium is mainly controlled by Colombian organizations with representative residing in Africa and in Europe. Some Antwerp port employees have been documented as being involved in the receipt and off-loading of cocaine upon arrival at the port. Zaventem National Airport has become a major point of entry for couriers, who hide drugs in their baggage or on their persons. The cocaine originates in South America and transits through either West Africa or other countries in South America; however, between January and October 2009, cocaine couriers reportedly departed from Central and South America more often than from West Africa Additionally, in 2009 Caribbean-based organizations utilized express consignment packages to conceal cocaine shipments destined for Belgium. The other active cocaine trafficking groups in Belgium are Surinamese, Chilean, Ecuadorian, Dominican and Israeli.
The Port of Antwerp is also an important transit point for cannabis and hashish. The Netherlands continues to supply both marijuana and hashish to Belgian traffickers. Belgium remains a transit country for heroin destined for the British market. Seizures over the past five years and intelligence indicate that Belgium continues to be a secondary distribution and packaging center for heroin coming along the Balkan Route. Turkish groups dominate the trafficking of heroin in Belgium. The Belgian Federal Police have identified commercial (TIR) trucks from Turkey as the single largest transportation mechanism for westbound heroin entering Belgium.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Belgium has an active drug education program administered by the regional governments (Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels), which targets the country's youth. These programs include education campaigns, drug hotlines, HIV and hepatitis prevention programs, detoxification programs, and a pilot program for "drug-free" prison sections. Belgium continues to direct its programs at individuals who influence young people versus young people themselves. In general, Belgian society views teachers, coaches, clergy, and other adults as better suited to deliver the counternarcotics message to the target audience because they already are known and respected by young people.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. and Belgium regularly share drug-related information. Counternarcotics officials in the BFP, Belgian Customs, Federal Prosecutor's Office, and Ministry of Justice are fully engaged with their U.S. counterparts. The U.S. continues to coordinate with Belgian authorities to identify and investigate both suppliers and shippers of precursor chemicals. The U.S. trained and certified several Belgian Federal Officers in clandestine laboratory search and seizure methods.
The Road Ahead. Belgium has always been open to international support to combat illicit drug trafficking and production. The U.S. looks forward to continued cooperation and support from Belgium in combating drug-related crime.
Belize is a transit point for narcotics traveling from Colombia, destined for the United States. While relatively small amounts transit Belize as compared with the rest of Central America, Belize's porous borders, combined with a lack of resources, make it vulnerable to traffickers. The Government of Belize (GOB) collaborated with the United States on joint counternarcotics operations and investigations in 2009 and on the apprehension and return of 19 U.S. fugitives wanted in the United States. Belize is also cooperating with the USG through the Merida Initiative. However, even with this assistance, limited resources hampered the GOB's ability to reduce the crime rate in Belize. Belize is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
The borders in Belize are porous, composed of long stretches of unmanned, unpopulated forests on its borders with Guatemala and Mexico, and unpatrolled coastline. The territory of Belize also includes hundreds of small cayes and atolls make it vulnerable to trans-shipment of illicit drugs between Colombia and Mexico. While in recent years the Belize Coast Guard, Anti-Drug Unit, and U.S. authorities have increased their efforts to monitor coastal waters, their ability to counter the threat has been hampered by limited resources and lack of political will. In an attempt to diversify Belize's economic activities, authorities have encouraged the growth of offshore financial activities that are vulnerable to money laundering. Although money laundering in Belize is still thought to be limited, this, combined with weak enforcement of laws regulating offshore financial interests, contributed to an increase in money laundering incidents in 2009.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. In 2009, several in-country training workshops were carried out for members of the Belize Police Department, Customs, Immigration, and Ministry of Health. In addition, Belize is engaged in discussions with its counterparts in Central America to pursue structured courses in chemical control strategies and techniques. These were made possible by chemical control actions taken in 2008, including enactment of a statutory instrument prohibiting the bulk importation of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for training and capacity building to control the diversion of chemical substances. In addition, Belize is engaged in discussions with its counterparts in Central America to pursue structured courses in chemical control strategies and techniques.
Accomplishments. In 2009 the Belize Police Department (BPD), Belize Defense Force (BDF), and Belize National Coast Guard (BNCG) continued to conduct counternarcotics operations with USG assistance. Seizures through September 2009 include: 28.3 kilograms of cocaine, 0.26 kilogram of crack cocaine, 291.5 kilograms of marijuana, 3.6 kilograms marijuana seeds, as well as 423 kilograms of ephedrine, worth $1.7 million. A total of 1,299 arrests were made during this period. Belize's dismal seizure rates reflect law enforcements' need to focus on day-to-day patrolling in response to a growing crime rate that detracts from their ability to develop the intelligence necessary to take down major traffickers and their organizations.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2009, the BPD and BDF continued joint patrols along both the northern and western borders, in order to monitor illegal entry points into Belize that are also used as routes for trafficking cocaine and marijuana over land. However, much of the illegal substances which transit Belize do so by air and by sea. During 2009 the BDF monitored and destroyed covert runways used by traffickers. However, the lack of a national maritime strategy to deal with counternarcotics operations has resulted in a lack of cooperation between the various maritime assets and no maritime interdictions in 2009. The BDF received two Enduring Friendship go-fast boats from the U.S. Military Liaison Office (MLO) to assist with maritime interdictions and the BNCG will receive two similar vessels in 2010, which will be purchased with Merida Initiative funding. The Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) of the BPD also has three vessels of which only one is operational; however, it does not have the capability to intercept the go-fast vessels used by traffickers.
In April, there was a change to the structure of the BPD, increasing the number of Assistant Commissioners of Police from three to five. This change was recommended by a Caribbean police consultant who was contracted to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the BPD from June through November 2008. Although the positions and names were announced shortly thereafter, the Security Services Commission has been slow to confirm the nominees, and to date only three of the positions were confirmed. These latest promotions have brought public attention to a morale issue within the BPD that has been brewing for a number of years where officers have expressed concern that some promotions were not made in compliance with the police subsidiary law and have filed cases in the courts and with the Ombudsman.
It is difficult to obtain convictions on drug crimes because the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lacks the staff and resources necessary to devote to each case. Police Prosecutors, who are responsible for the prosecution of minor offenses, lack formal legal training, which often results in cases being overturned on technicalities. The widespread issue of victim and witness intimidation is also one of the main deterrents to successful prosecutions.
Given the increase in money laundering activity in Belize, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was given additional resources, including the addition of one police investigator dedicated to its staff, and it plans to increase the staff by adding two Financial Examiners and one Police Officer. The FIU is currently investigating several cases of alleged money laundering, the most prominent of which has resulted in charges being brought against seven individuals in connection with a scheme run through Money Exchange International. Two cases currently before the courts have benefited from rulings favorable to the FIU and have received a lot of media attention; however, the trial phase is not scheduled to begin until early 2010. The BPD is in the process of setting up a Financial Crimes Unit which will work closely with FIU.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOB does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, a lack of resources and weak enforcement has allowed these activities to continue within Belize. Belize has not yet acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, 2003. However, the Convention is pending review with the Attorney General and a draft document has been prepared for Cabinet.
In the 2008 high profile cases involving several high level officials charged with the theft of $10 million, cases involving two of the officials were thrown out due to lack of evidence and, because the thefts occurred abroad, the Belize courts did not have jurisdiction to hear these cases. Earlier this year a Coast Guard vessel was stolen from the station where it was docked. Four Coast Guard Seamen are being held in connection with this crime, but the Ministry of National Security is still investigating the matter. In May and September of 2008, Customs officials discovered that the contents of two shipping containers were lost and that the containers were fraudulently cleared from the Customs compound. One of the suspected Customs officials involved in the May incident was dismissed, while the second individual was transferred to another GOB department. The individual suspected of the September incident is involved in an ongoing internal proceeding. Neither of the cases went to court due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
Agreements and Treaties. Belize is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Belize is one of three countries that have ratified the Caribbean Regional Agreement on Maritime Counter Narcotics. In September 1997, the GOB signed the National Crime Information Center Pilot Project Assessment Agreement (data- and information-sharing). Belize passed the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act in 2008. This act establishes money laundering as an autonomous offense. Belize has failed to accede to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, 1992, despite The Organization of American States' Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) urging it to do so for the past ten years. However, Belize has been participating in the Ministers of Justice or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) workshops, the last meeting of which was in 2008 and was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington.
Belize has also failed to accede to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components, and Ammunition of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, despite CICAD urging it to do so for the past seven years.
Bilateral agreements between the U.S. and Belize include a protocol to the Maritime Agreement that entered into force in April 2000, a bilateral Extradition Treaty that entered into force in March 2001, and the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad that entered into force in 2005. The U.S.--Belize Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) entered into force in 2003, but was not implemented by the GOB until 2005. While assistance in the capture and repatriation of U.S. citizen fugitives is excellent (19 fugitives deported so far in 2009), responses to formal U.S. extradition requests for Belizean nationals is frustratingly slow due to limited criminal justice system resources and a system lacking judicial incentives to promote speedy trials. Belize is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. In 2005, Belize joined other Central American countries participating in the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System (CNIES), which assists in locating, identifying, tracking, and intercepting civil aircraft in Belize's airspace.
Cultivation/Production. Marijuana is cultivated for local consumption in scattered plots throughout Belize. Police investigate and burn the plants, but often the marijuana fields are planted on government property, ownership of the illegal plants cannot always be determined, and no further action is taken. There are no industries in Belize requiring the import of precursor chemicals.
Drug Flow/Transit and Distribution. Cocaine is trans-shipped through Belize's territorial waters for onward shipment to Mexico and the U.S. The primary means for smuggling drugs are go-fast boats transiting Belizean waters for transshipment along navigable inland waterways, and on to remote border crossings into Mexico. There are also indications that drugs travel across land borders as well. Interdiction is hampered by the lack of adequate host nation resources and lax Customs enforcement. During 2009, 423 kilograms of pseudoephedrine valued at $1.7 million was seized. Belize is quickly becoming a stop for poly-drug shipments where traffickers combine cocaine, pseudoephedrine, and marijuana into packaged shipments for onward transit.
Domestic Program/Demand Reduction. The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) coordinates GOB's demand reduction efforts through education, counseling, rehabilitation, outreach, and a public commercial campaign. Drug abuse and treatment statistics are not readily available in Belize and drug rehabilitation facilities are virtually non-existent for the local population. The only Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Belize are held at the Belize Central Prison, which is run by the non-profit Kolbe Foundation.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. supported Belize's efforts to combat transnational crime and narcotics trafficking by providing training, equipment, and technical assistance to the GOB. The support modernized and enhanced law enforcement capacity, improved prison management, and assisted anti-gang initiatives. The USG is providing support to the Belizean Forensic Laboratory to improve investigations and prosecution of crimes by purchasing a bullet catcher, and through planned training for their Firearms Examiner in the U.S. The USG also provided support for maritime security through Enduring Friendship (see Law Enforcement Efforts) And, in 2010, plans to assist the GOB in improving its maritime interdiction capabilities through training, the construction of a BNCG forward operating base in the offshore islands, construction of a new BNCG headquarters building, and donation of additional equipment and boats through Enduring Friendship. Belize has two cadets attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and one attending the U.S. Naval Academy.
The Road Ahead. Over the next decade Belize will face many threats in its battle against narcotics trafficking, but it has many opportunities that do not exist in other countries in the region. As its neighbors continue to push back against traffickers or in some cases to capitulate to them, even more pressure will fall on Belize to protect its borders. It is vital that the GOB show the will to increase its efforts, through policy, resource allocation, and operations, to halt the flow of illegal drugs, drug money and money laundering activities within and across its borders. While monetary and human resources are sparse, a reexamination of current policies and practices, combined with the assistance provided through the Merida Initiative, MLO, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, could result in decreasing the ability of traffickers to use Belize as a transit location. At the same time, Belize is encouraged to pass and implement pending legislation requesting wider authority for intelligence collection and electronic intercepts, and a Chemical Precursors Control Act with punitive sanctions. The GOB could enhance its drug control efforts further by adequately funding and training prosecutors in the DPP's office, as well as Police Prosecutors, in narcotics prosecutions.
Bolivia is one of 20 major narcotics producing or transit countries. On September 15, 2009, the President of the United States determined for the second consecutive year that the Government of Bolivia (GOB) "failed demonstrably" to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics (CN) conventions. In this determination, the President raised concern with rising Bolivian coca cultivation and cocaine production and explained that the GOB's expulsion of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) severely undermined Bolivian law enforcement efforts to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. The President noted that despite Bolivia's success in meeting minimum eradication goals, the total effort by the GOB fell short of its obligations as outlined in the United Nations (UN) Conventions and bilateral agreements.
In 2009, the GOB reported eradication of over 6,341 hectares of coca nationwide, 84 percent of which took place in the Cochabamba tropics (Chapare). Although the GOB met its minimum bilateral requirement to eradicate 5,000 hectares of coca, these efforts have not kept pace with rising coca cultivation and cocaine production. Bolivia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Bolivia is the world's third largest producer of cocaine, and it is a significant transit zone for Peruvian-origin cocaine. The United States Government (USG) estimates that Bolivia's coca cultivation increased by ten percent in 2009, and potential cocaine production increased by 50 percent from 130 metric tons in 2007 to 195 metric tons in 2008 and remained at that level in 2009. Increased potential cocaine production over the past two years can be attributed to the adoption of more efficient, Colombian-style cocaine processing methods and the increased presence of Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers in Bolivia. The majority of cocaine trafficked from or through Bolivia is destined for Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay, with a significant amount transshipped to Africa and Europe.
GOB coca eradication forces face resistance from local coca growers on average one to three times per month when they attempt to carry out eradication missions. These missions are negotiated with and agreed upon by the General Directorate of Integral Development for Regional Coca Production (DIGPROCOCA) and relevant coca federations. Resistance includes throwing stones at eradicators and gathering groups of hundreds of coca growers to physically resist the eradicators. Most incidents occur in so-called "zero coca zones," such as protected Bolivian national parks. When facing resistance, eradication forces usually retreated in order to avoid injuries or conflict escalation. Coca cultivation expansion led to recent violent incursions by coca growers into the Indigenous Territory National Park Isiboro Secure (TIPNIS), leaving one person dead in September 2009. Police acted to remove the coca growers.
President Morales remains the leader of a coca growers' federation, and the GOB continues its efforts at the international level to obtain the legalization of trade in coca leaf.
The expulsion of the DEA from Bolivia in January 2009 negatively impacted CN programs, especially in the area of interdiction operations and drug-related investigations. The expulsion reduced Bolivia's ability to identify, investigate, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and severely limited the amount of actionable law enforcement leads developed in Bolivia.
In June, 2009, the President of the United States did not determine that Bolivia satisfied the eligibility requirements under the Andean Trade Promotion Act, including criteria on counternarcotics, and Bolivia's trade preferences under the Act were not reinstated.
On September 15, 2009, the President of the United States determined for the second consecutive year that the Government of Bolivia (GOB) "failed demonstrably" to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics (CN) conventions. In this determination, the President raised concern with rising Bolivian coca cultivation, cocaine production, and lack of control over "licit" coca markets resulting in diversion of excess coca leaf to cocaine production. The President also explained that the GOB's expulsion of DEA severely undermined Bolivian law enforcement efforts to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. The President noted that despite Bolivia's limited success in meeting eradication goals, the total effort by the GOB fell well short of its obligations as outlined in the United Nations (UN) Conventions and bilateral agreements.
The USG continues to provide administrative and logistical support to Bolivian CN programs, and to work productively with the GOB at the technical level, but program accomplishments have diminished as a result of GOB policies and actions. The U.S. remains committed to working with the GOB to improve counternarcotics results.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The GOB promotes a policy of "zero cocaine but not zero coca" and has continued its policy to allow an increase in coca cultivation from 12,000 to 20,000 hectares, which violates Bolivian Law 1008 and international agreements. Bolivia produces coca leaf for traditional purposes, such as chewing, making tea and religious rites, but this coca leaf is also diverted to cocaine production. Current Bolivian law permits up to 12,000 hectares of legal coca cultivation in the "traditional coca growing area," most of which is in the Yungas, to supply the licit market. In September 2008, the GOB signed an agreement with 25,000 coca growers from the Yungas federation to eradicate 6,900 hectares by 2010. This agreement simultaneously permitted an additional 6,500 hectares of coca to be grown in new areas in and around the Yungas. In 2009 the GOB also continued the policy that allows one cato (between one-sixth and one-quarter of a hectare) of coca to be cultivated annually per coca growing family in the Chapare region. This policy has resulted in at least 7,000 additional hectares of coca growth. It is widely recognized that coca grown in the Chapare is not suitable for chewing, and there is no evidence to suggest that Chapare coca is currently used for any other licit purposes, such as the manufacture of tea and other commercial products.
In October 2008, the GOB, with substantial support from the U.S. and neighboring countries, completed a one-year project designed to significantly improve the GOB's money laundering, antiterrorism financing, and asset forfeiture legislation. The draft legislation, currently pending Bolivian Congressional approval, would provide the requisite legal resources to law enforcement entities to improve their ability to conduct and prosecute narcotics trafficking, money laundering, terrorist financing, and corruption cases in Bolivia. The legislation also contains provisions that would allow judicial intercepts of wire communications, plea bargaining, and other reforms to the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Accomplishments. The GOB eradicated 6,341 hectares of coca nationwide in 2009--84 percent (5,359 hectares) in the Chapare, 8 percent (521 hectares) in Yapacani, and 7 percent (459 hectares) in the Yungas.
In 2009, the Special Bolivian Counter Narcotics Police (FELCN) seized approximately 1,574 metric tons of coca leaf, 22 metric tons of cocaine base, and 5 metric tons of cocaine hydrochloride (HCl), totaling approximately 27 metric tons of illicit cocaine product. These illicit cocaine product seizures are fewer than the same period in 2008 and are insufficient to stem rising potential cocaine production. The GOB counternarcotics forces located and destroyed 24 cocaine HCl processing and chemical recycling labs; 4,864 cocaine base labs; and 6,666 maceration pits. In comparison to 2008, forces interdicted fewer base labs and maceration pits, but seized more cocaine HCl processing and chemical recycling labs. These results track the rising prevalence of Colombian-style manufacturing methods, rather than traditional maceration pits, and the increasing presence of Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers in Bolivia.
Additionally, operations intended to disrupt drug labs frequently fail to seize drugs processed at the labs and only result in the arrest of low-level workers. FELCN seized approximately 1,937 metric tons of marijuana; 872 metric tons of solid precursor chemicals; and 1,578,681 liters of liquid precursors in 2009, an increase over prior year results. The lack of DEA or other international law enforcement working with FELCN in the field on a daily basis makes it difficult to independently verify the accuracy of these figures reported by the GOB.
The GOB arrested 3,397 persons on narcotics-related offenses in 2009. The GOB opened 2,903 narcotics cases during 2009 with 1,236 defendants. Of the total, formal charges of narcotics violations have taken place in 1,160 cases. 104 of the cases have judicial resolution, while 1,056 remain pending in court. Internal reviews of the statistical conviction rates by the Public Ministry and a survey conducted by the National Fiscal Training Facility in Sucre indicate that there continue to be significant problems within the CN prosecutor's offices relating to the ability of the prosecutors and their understanding of the accusatory judicial system that began in 2001.
Law Enforcement Efforts. FELCN is mandated to combat all aspects of drug trafficking, including interdiction of drugs, illicit coca, and precursor chemicals, intelligence gathering, money laundering investigations, and rural operations. The Department of State's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs' (INL) Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) continues to provide logistics and administrative support to the FELCN and the Bolivian National Police (BNP) training academy. However, without DEA presence, the USG does not have the capability to support operational engagement or sharing of actionable law enforcement information with Bolivian counterparts.
FELCN reported that throughout 2009 it focused on higher level violators, resulting in more priority target organizations being investigated with the assistance and support of regional partner nations. The U.S. has no information on priority target drug trafficking organizations dismantled or high level violators arrested by the GOB in 2009. The increase of cocaine supply, expansion of drug trafficking activities, the presence of sophisticated organizations operating in Bolivia, and proliferation of large foreign-managed cocaine laboratories pose a growing challenge, given FELCN's limited capacity. Bolivia is seeking support from other countries and has improved law enforcement cooperation with Brazil, Argentina and Chile. However, this improvement has not sufficiently addressed the gap in operational support and enhanced investigative capabilities to target and dismantle drug trafficking organizations created by DEA's expulsion.
Corruption. There are no proven cases of senior GOB officials encouraging or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
The USG continues to provide significant administrative support to the BNP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Disciplinary Tribunal. The OPR is the "Internal Affairs Investigators" of the BNP. The Tribunal is responsible for the review of cases and determination of punishment, if appropriate, for police officers involved in misconduct and other integrity-related violations. The BNP/OPR reports that they have investigated a total of 2,444 allegations of various forms of misconduct involving police officers during 2009. Of these cases, 176 involved officers assigned to the FELCN. To date, the Tribunal has reviewed and undertaken prosecutorial, disciplinary or other administrative action in 1,378 of these OPR cases. The remainder of the cases are pending investigations, or awaiting tribunal action.
Agreements and Treaties. Bolivia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Bolivia is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the Inter American Convention against Corruption. Nevertheless, Bolivia is lacking many of the legal and enforcement mechanisms needed to fully implement these agreements. Bolivia has signed, but has not yet ratified, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition.
Extradition. The GOB and the United States signed a bilateral extradition treaty in 1995, which entered into force in 1996. The treaty permits the extradition of nationals for most serious offenses, including drug trafficking. The United States has one pending extradition request to Bolivia as of December 2009.
Cultivation/Production. Overall coca cultivation increased ten percent in 2009 to 35,000 hectares according to official USG estimates, up from 32,000 hectares in 2008. (The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that in 2008 Bolivians cultivated 30,500 hectares, a 6 percent increase from 2007. UNODC figures for 2009 were not available.) Regional changes from 2008 to 2009 are as follows: Chapare cultivation increased 6 percent (8,300 to 8,800 hectares); Yungas cultivation increased 10 percent (21,000 to 23,000 hectares); Caranavi cultivation increased 37 percent (1,600 to 2,200 hectares); Vandiola cultivation decreased 19 percent (315 to 255 hectares); and Apolo cultivation decreased 60 percent (660 to 260 hectares). Bolivia also produces marijuana, primarily for domestic consumption. GOB estimates show that marijuana production increased significantly from 195 metric tons in 2008 to more than 1,831 metric tons in 2009.
USG estimates indicate that potential pure cocaine production increased approximately 50 percent, from 130 metric tons in 2007 to 195 metric tons in 2008 and remained at 195 metric tons in 2009. Estimated potential export quality cocaine (derived after pure cocaine has been cut, mixed, and diluted) in 2009 was 240 metric tons, largely due to less efficient leaf yield from new plants. (UNODC estimated that 2008 potential pure cocaine production in Bolivia was 113 metric tons, a 9 percent increase from 2007.)
Over the last couple of years, Bolivian CN units, as well as DEA (prior to its departure), have observed a steady increase in the use of the more efficient "Colombian" methods for cocaine production during lab seizures, including use of mechanized coca maceration and solvents, instead of acids for alkaloid extraction.
Drug Flow/Transit. Although cocaine production in Bolivia is increasing, there continues to be limited information on how much Bolivian cocaine is seized outside of Bolivia. Existing reports indicate that most Bolivian-origin cocaine exports flow to other Latin American states for either domestic consumption or onward transit towards Europe, with little exported to the U.S. Still, there appears to be a growing number of Mexican and Colombian traffickers in Bolivia. A GOB official stated that Mexican drug cartels are working with Colombian drug cartels to invest capital in Bolivia and Peru to help ensure a sufficient supply is available to satisfy market demand. The official noted that Mexican cartels provide money to the Colombians, who then administer the funds to secure sufficient supply. DEA is monitoring its Cocaine Signature Program for any indication of an increase in Bolivian cocaine appearing in the U.S. market.
The increase in coca cultivation and cocaine production, particularly since 2007, as well as the lack of effective government response in Bolivia, directly affects neighboring countries. DTOs in the Southern Cone--Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay--have taken advantage of the current situation in Bolivia to increase their drug trafficking activities in the region. All countries bordering Bolivia have experienced an increase in drug trafficking from Bolivia during the reporting period, especially Brazil and Chile. All report increased seizures of Bolivian drugs and arrests of drug traffickers linked to Bolivia, as well as the increased use of small aircraft and containerized shipments to move large quantities of cocaine from land-locked Bolivia to international destinations. Argentine authorities report the presence of cocaine HCl labs in their countries, supplied by Bolivian cocaine base. Brazilian authorities have stated that most of the cocaine seized in Sao Paulo comes from Bolivia
Alternative Development. The USG's Integrated Alternative Development (AD) program provides support to help diversify the economies of Bolivia's coca growing regions, reduce communities' dependency on coca, and complement the Government of Bolivia's voluntary eradication program. AD assistance helps strengthen the competitiveness of Bolivia's agricultural products (e.g., coffee, bananas, pineapples, cocoa, and palm hearts) in national and world markets, improve basic social conditions (e.g., access to clean water), and improve rural road infrastructure and access to markets. Beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, AD support shifted focus from the Tropics of Cochabamba to the Yungas region in accordance with the GOB's rationalization plans. In 2009, USAID terminated most of its work in the Tropics of Cochabamba at the request of the GOB.
Cooperation between USAID and the Vice Ministry of Coca and Integrated Development (VCDI) continued over the past year. Activities and investments under the programs to promote productive and social development were all jointly approved by USAID and VCDI counterparts. These include a relatively large number of new productive initiatives in La Asunta, an under-developed, highly coca dependent region of the Yungas, where the GOB started to eradicate in agreement with the coca growers' federations. Project personnel worked closely with principal GOB counterparts, the La Asunta federation, and communities to prioritize investments and identify the most promising products to be developed. There has been significantly more demand for alternative production among communities than originally envisioned.
Data on results achieved over the last year indicate that USAID's Integrated Alternative Development program activities continued to produce results. U.S. assistance helped introduce, establish or rehabilitate 4,047 hectares of crops, such as bananas, cocoa, palm hearts and coffee, and helped place an additional 614 hectares under forest management plans. Income from some of the first yielding crops, such as the natural sweetener product stevia, began in November 2009.
In FY 2009, the annual value of USAID-promoted exports reached nearly $39.5 million, an 11percent increase over FY 2008. The assistance provided to farm communities and businesses helped generate 5,866 new jobs and $29 million in sales of AD products. Approximately 12,660 families benefited directly from U.S. assistance. More than 530 kilometers of roads were maintained or improved and 19 bridges were constructed. In addition, four potable water systems were constructed, benefiting 1,269 families in the Yungas region.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. A 2008 UNODC report stated that Bolivian domestic drug consumption continued to increase. The most recent credible study on drug use in Bolivia, conducted in 2005 by the Latin American Center for Scientific Research (CELIN), showed that 4.9 percent of the population uses illegal drugs (cocaine, marijuana, hallucinogens and others). Despite this, GOB support for drug abuse prevention programs is inadequate. The USG provided support to CELIN to update the 2005 study on illegal drug use in Bolivia and several demand reduction programs. Due to the lack of GOB support on a national level, the USG focused drug prevention outreach activities at the municipal and prefectural levels throughout 2008 and 2009. Since February 2008, the USG has worked with UNODC to conduct a drug abuse prevention and citizen safety project in El Alto that has reached over 80,000 teachers, students, and community members. The USG also works with the non-governmental organization Communication, Research and Action of Social Policies (CIAPS) on a community-based drug abuse prevention program for high-school students in the cities of La Paz and Sucre. The CIAPS program is expected to reach 20,000 people.
Since 2000, the USG-supported Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program educated 142,290 school children on drug prevention. The program reached 18,000 students in 2009. In the Department of Cochabamba, the USG helped implement the region's "Healthy Schools Drug Prevention Program" by training health professionals, teachers, and parents on drug abuse prevention techniques. During the reporting period, the USG conducted training in demand reduction issues and techniques for several technical teams of trainers from the municipalities of Cochabamba, Tarija, Sucre, and Guayaramerin. The USG also conducted a counternarcotics-themed sports outreach effort by sponsoring the "Tahuichi" Soccer Academy in Santa Cruz. The Academy launched a tournament in the coca growing area of Los Yungas that involved three teams and 70 youth participants. The USG also provided three year-long soccer scholarships to at-risk children from rural areas of the country. The scholarships allow the children to live, study, and train at the academy for one year.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. USG programs aim to enhance the capabilities of the GOB to reduce coca cultivation; arrest and bring drug traffickers to justice; promote alternative economic development; disrupt the production of cocaine within Bolivia; interdict and destroy illicit drugs and precursor chemicals moving within and through the country; reduce domestic abuse of cocaine and other illicit drugs; institutionalize a professional law enforcement system; and improve the awareness of the Bolivian population regarding the dangers of illicit drugs. The USG also provides logistics support that enables training for BNP officers in modern money laundering and terrorism financing investigative techniques, and on trafficking in persons (TIP) and human rights.
Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral cooperation continued to be challenging in 2009. However, Bolivian and U.S. officials meet regularly to implement programs and to advance common issues of concern.
In February 2009, the GOB advised the USG that U.S.-sponsored training for military and police personnel outside of the country would no longer be supported by the GOB and that any future training nominations would be directed to the respective unit commanders for initial approval. These nominations would then be forwarded to the Minister of Government and President for their respective approvals. This new policy has serious detrimental effects on the continued development and professionalism of the national police and military forces, due to their inability to attend U.S. sponsored training courses, especially management courses.
Despite this setback, the USG supported a number of GOB institutional developmental projects, including a basic and advanced law enforcement training program. In 2009, the Law Enforcement Development Program supported sixty-two (62) training courses, seminars and/or conferences that have reached 5,600 police officers, prosecutors, and GOB and non-government organization counterparts. The USG provided administrative support to four special BNP TIP investigative units consisting of 28 police officers and 12 full time prosecutors in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba.
The Road Ahead. With sharply rising potential drug production levels, the presence of Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers operating in Bolivia, as well as increasing potential for conflict between coca growers and the GOB in the national parks, the USG is concerned about the effectiveness of the GOB's counternarcotics policies and actions. The GOB's policies supporting the expansion of coca cultivation contribute to rising excess coca cultivation and increases in cocaine production. The GOB is encouraged to revise its policies on coca cultivation and implement a national eradication strategy that improves efficiency and effectiveness of eradication, leading to net reductions in coca cultivation that keep pace with replanting. We also encourage the GOB to take measures to prevent diversion of coca to cocaine production by establishing strict controls over the licit coca market and closing illegal markets. Bolivia has stated its intention to nationalize eradication efforts, but this goal will require increased financial support from the GOB. The legal and regulatory framework in Bolivia hinders law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts to effectively and efficiently combat drug production and trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and other transnational crime and requires GOB action. There is also a growing gap in international law enforcement/counternarcotics information sharing caused by DEA's expulsion. To that end, we encourage Bolivia to enhance its collaborative efforts with Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and other neighboring and international partners on counternarcotics.
2009 2008 2007 2006 Coca Net Cultivation (ha) 35,000 32,000 29,500 25,800 Eradication (ha) 6,341 5,484 6,269 5,070 Leaf: Potential Dried Harvest (MT) 43,000 43,500 38,500 37,000 HCL: Potential (MT) (1) 195 195 130 115 Seizures Coca Leaf (MT) 1,574 2,066.0 1,705.0 1,344.0 Cocaine Base (MT) 21.9 21.6 14.9 12.7 Cocaine HCl (MT) 4.9 7.2 2.9 1.3 Combined HCl & Base (MT) 26.8 28.8 17.8 14.0 Arrests & Detentions 3,397 3,525 4,268 4,503 Labs Destroyed Cocaine HCl 16 7 7 3 Cocaine Base 4,864 4,988 4,076 4,070 2005 2004 2003 Coca Net Cultivation (ha) 26,500 24,600 23,200 Eradication (ha) 6,073 8,437 10,000 Leaf: Potential Dried Harvest (MT) 36,000 37,000 33,000 HCL: Potential (MT) (1) 115 115 100 Seizures Coca Leaf (MT) 887.4 395.0 152.0 Cocaine Base (MT) 10.2 8.2 6.4 Cocaine HCl (MT) 1.3 0.5 6.5 Combined HCl & Base (MT) 11.5 8.7 12.9 Arrests & Detentions 4,376 4,138 3,902 Labs Destroyed Cocaine HCl 3 4 2 Cocaine Base 2,619 2,254 1,769 (1) The reported leaf-to-HCl conversion ratio is estimated to be 370 kilograms of leaf to one kilogram of cocaine HCl in the Chapare, 315:1 in the Yungas.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina ("Bosnia") is considered a transit country for drug trafficking due to its strategic location along historic Balkan smuggling routes. Narcotics control capabilities in Bosnia remain in a formative stage and have not kept pace with developments in other areas of law enforcement. Weak state institutions, lack of personnel in counternarcotics units, and poor cooperation among the responsible authorities also contribute to Bosnia's vulnerability. The political will to improve narcotics control performance exists in some quarters of the Bosnian government. However, faced with ongoing post-war reconstruction issues, the government has to date focused limited law enforcement resources on investigating and prosecuting war crimes, counterterrorism and combating trafficking in persons and has not developed comprehensive counternarcotics intelligence and enforcement capabilities. Despite some improvement in cooperation among entity and cantonal law enforcement agencies and substantial legal reforms, the current political divisions which hamper reform efforts have contributed to poorly coordinated counternarcotics enforcement efforts.
Narcotics trade remains an integral part of the activities of foreign and domestic organized crime figures that operate, according to anecdotal evidence, with the tacit acceptance (and sometimes active collusion) of some corrupt public officials. Border controls have improved, but flaws in the regulatory structure and justice system, lack of coordination among police agencies, and a lack of attention by Bosnia's political leadership mean that measures against narcotics trafficking and related crimes are often substandard. In 2009, Bosnia finally took several steps to fulfill the terms of a 2005 law designed to create a state-level coordination body and develop a strategy to improve Bosnia's ability to combat trafficking in illegal drugs. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies, often in cooperation with neighboring countries, succeeded in making some substantial heroin-related arrests and seizures. Bosnia is making efforts to forge ties with regional and international law enforcement agencies. Bosnia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Bosnia is not a significant narcotics producer, consumer, or producer of precursor chemicals. Bosnia does occupy a strategic position along the historic Balkan smuggling route between drug production and processing centers in Southwest Asia and markets in Western Europe. Bosnian authorities at the state, entity, cantonal, and municipal levels have been unable to stem the transit of illegal migrants, black market commodities, and narcotics since the conclusion of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords. Traffickers have capitalized, in particular, on a still evolving justice system, public sector corruption, and the lack of specialized equipment and training. Bosnia is increasingly becoming a storehouse for drugs, mainly marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Traffickers "warehouse" drugs in Bosnia, until they can be shipped out to destinations further along the Balkan Route. One of the main routes for drug trafficking starts in Albania, continues through Montenegro, passes through Bosnia to Croatia and Slovenia and then on to Central Europe. Information on domestic consumption is not systematically gathered, but authorities estimate Bosnia has 120,000 drug addicts. Anecdotal evidence and law enforcement information indicate that demand for illicit drugs is steadily increasing. The state-level Ministry of Security has created a Counternarcotics Office in its Sector for the Suppression of Serious Crimes. Although this new office has the mandate to collect and disseminate drug-related data, its work is hindered by the occasional refusal of local law enforcement agencies to share information with it.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. On November 8, 2005, the Bosnian House of Representatives passed legislation designed to address the problem of narcotics trafficking and abuse. Although there was a delay of three years in implementing this law, in September and October Bosnia finally created a state-level counternarcotics coordination body and a commission for the destruction of illegal narcotics. The counternarcotics coordination body adopted a counternarcotics strategy and action plan; however, the bylaws for the commission have not yet been adopted by the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Finance has not yet allocated operational funds. Bosnia is a state with limited financial resources, but, with USG and EU assistance, it is attempting to build state-level law enforcement institutions to combat narcotics trafficking and organized crime and to achieve compliance with relevant UN conventions. The full deployment of the Border Police (BP) and the establishment of the State Investigative and Protection Agency (SIPA) have improved counternarcotics efforts. Telephone hotlines, local press coverage, and public relations efforts have focused public attention on smuggling and black-marketeering.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement agencies made some significant drug-related arrests during 2009; however, overall counternarcotics efforts remain inadequate given suspected trafficking levels. Cooperation among law enforcement agencies and prosecutors is primarily informal and ad hoc, and serious legal and bureaucratic obstacles to the effective prosecution of criminals remain. Through September 2009 (latest available statistics), law enforcement agencies in Bosnia (including SIPA), the Border Police, Federation Ministry of Interior, Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior and Brcko District Police) have filed criminal reports against 1,029 persons for drug related offenses. These agencies also report having seized 35.27 kilograms of heroin, 9.37 kilograms of cocaine, 76.11 kilograms of amphetamines, 150.3 kilograms of marijuana, 3,118 cannabis plants, 2,639 cannabis seeds, 499 Ecstasy tablets, and 800 grams of hashish.
The Border Police (BP), founded in 2000, is responsible for controlling the country's three international airports, as well as Bosnia's 55 international border crossings covering 1,551 kilometers. The BP has been considered one of the more effective border services in Southeast Europe and is one of the few truly multi-ethnic institutions in Bosnia. However, declining relative wages vis-a-vis other local and entity law enforcement agencies along with harsh working conditions have led to sustained personnel shortages in the BP. There are still a large number of illegal crossing points, including rural roads and river fords, which the BP is unable to patrol. Moreover, many official checkpoints and many crossings remain understaffed. SIPA, once fully operational, is supposed to be a conduit for information and evidence between local and international law enforcement agencies; however, several local law enforcement agencies, including the Republika Srpska police, have at times refused to cooperate with SIPA.
Cultivation/Production. Bosnia is not a major narcotics cultivator. Officials believe that domestic cultivation is limited to small-scale marijuana crops grown mostly in southern and eastern Bosnia. Bosnia is not a major synthetics narcotic producer or refiner of hard drugs, such as heroin.
Corruption. Bosnia does not have laws that specifically target narcotics-related public sector corruption and has not pursued charges against public officials on narcotics-related offenses. Organized crime, protected by a few corrupt government officials according to anecdotal evidence, uses the narcotics trade to generate personal revenue. There is no solid evidence linking senior government officials to the illicit narcotics trade. As a matter of government policy, Bosnia does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Bosnia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is developing bilateral law enforcement ties with neighboring states to combat narcotics trafficking. Bosnia is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and trafficking in illicit firearms, and to the UN Convention against Corruption. A 1902 extradition treaty between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Serbia applies to Bosnia as a successor state.
Drug Flow/Transit. While most drugs entering Bosnia are being trafficked to destinations in third countries, indigenous organized crime groups are involved in local distribution to the estimated 120,000 drug users in the country. Major heroin and marijuana shipments are believed to transit Bosnia by several well-established overland routes, often in commercial vehicles. Local officials believe that Western Europe is the primary destination for this traffic. Officials believe that the market for designer drugs, especially Ecstasy, in urban areas is rising rapidly. Law enforcement authorities assert that elements from each ethnic group and all major crime "families" are involved in the narcotics trade, often collaborating across ethnic lines. Sales of narcotics are also considered a significant source of revenue used by organized crime groups to finance both legitimate and illegitimate activities. There is mounting evidence of links and conflict among Bosnian criminal elements and organized crime operations in Russia, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Austria, Germany, and Italy.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In Bosnia there are only two methadone maintenance drug replacement therapy centers with a combined capacity to handle about 160 patients. The limited capacity of the country's psychiatric clinics, also charged with treating drug addicts, is problematic, as the number of addicts and drug-related deaths in the country is rising steadily. It is estimated that between 70 to 80 percent of drug addicts who undergo basic medical treatment are recidivists. The Bosnian government currently pays for the basic medical treatment of drug addicts, but there are no known government programs for reintegrating former addicts into society. As part of an overall public campaign to promote a "122 Crime Stoppers" hotline that citizens can use to report crimes in progress, the Federation police included a short video that encourages citizens to report any drug deal they witness. The Citizen's Association for Support and Treatment of Drug Addicted and Recovered Persons (UG PROI in the local language) maintains a private facility to help drug addicts near Kakanj. During the year, UG PROI presented counternarcotics messages to students through a drama program in elementary schools throughout Bosnia. In what has now become an annual event, UG PROI organized in 2009 a race against drugs involving both a fund-raising event and a large counternarcotics abuse demonstration in downtown Sarajevo. The NGO "Prijatelji" conducted programs in Bihac to distribute clean needles to drug addicts and to destroy used needles from hospitals and veterinary clinics to prevent them from being utilized by addicts. The group has been hindered in expanding its activities due to a lack of funding sources.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. USG rule of law policy objectives in Bosnia include reforming the criminal justice system, strengthening state-level law enforcement and judicial institutions, improving the rule of law and de-politicizing the police. The USG will continue to work closely with Bosnian authorities and the international community to combat narcotics trafficking and money laundering.
Bilateral Cooperation. The USG's bilateral law enforcement assistance program continues to emphasize task force training, improved cooperation between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and other measures against organized crime, including narcotics trafficking. The Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) program, funded by the State Department, provided specific counternarcotics training to entity Interior Ministries, SIPA and BP. The USG Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) program provides equipment and training to law enforcement agencies including the BP and the Indirect Taxation Administration (ITA), which has increased their ability to detect and interdict contraband, including narcotics. The Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance Training (OPDAT) program provides training to judges and prosecutors on organized crime-related matters. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Rome maintains liaison with its counterparts in Bosnian state- and entity-level law enforcement organizations. The DEA has also sponsored specific narcotic interdiction training courses in Bosnia. The Department of Defense also assisted by providing counternarcotics equipment for border police through the U.S. European Command. In addition, law enforcement officials from Bosnia attended regional training courses held in Serbia and Montenegro by the U.S. Coast Guard on small boat operations and maintenance.
The Road Ahead. Strengthening state-level law enforcement and judicial institutions, promoting the rule of law, combating organized crime and terrorism, and reforming the judiciary and police in Bosnia remain top USG priorities. The USG will continue to focus its bilateral program on these areas and on related subjects such as public sector corruption and border controls. Additionally, the USG will continue to provide political support to state-level institutions in the face of significant attacks on them by national forces intent on destroying the state. The U.S. Embassy will encourage Bosnia to proceed with the full implementation of its national counternarcotics strategy. The international community is also working to increase local capacity and to encourage interagency cooperation by mentoring and advising the local law enforcement community.
Brazil is the only country in the world that borders all three cocaine producing countries--Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. It is a major transit point for illicit drugs destined for Africa and Europe, with some going to the United States. The transit of illicit drugs through Brazil has increased significantly this year due to increased coca cultivation in neighboring Bolivia and the Government of Bolivia's expulsion of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Bolivia has now become the main source of cocaine base and crack cocaine for Brazil, which is the second- largest consumer of cocaine in the world after the United States. Turf battles among criminal organizations continue to fuel rising drug-related violence throughout Brazil and, in 2009, most of the homicides in Brazil were drug related. In an effort to control the proliferating traffic of narcotics within their borders, Brazil's Federal Police (DPF) law enforcement programs expanded in 2009 with United States assistance. Brazil is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Brazil shares 10,492 miles of land borders with 10 South American countries, including significant borders with all three of the world's cocaine producing countries. In addition, Brazil's growing international airport system, busy seaports, extensive coastline, countless clandestine airstrips, and an enormous violent organized crime network willing to accept drugs as payment for distribution make Brazil a major transit country for major international drug trafficking organizations. The majority of the Bolivian-origin cocaine is consumed domestically. The more refined Colombian and Peruvian narcotics generally are trafficked through Brazil en route to other markets, including the United States. Low-quality marijuana grows widely in the vast northeastern region of Brazil and is used primarily by urban youth. Higher-quality marijuana is smuggled into Brazil from Paraguay and distributed throughout Brazil by organized criminal organizations and gangs such as Sao Paulo's Primeiro Commando da Capital (PCC) and Rio de Janeiro's Commando Vermelho (CV). These gangs control drug distribution in Brazil's largest cities and pose an extreme security threat to the DPF and other Brazilian state and local law enforcement agencies. Both are involved in the importation, transportation, and distribution of weapons, in addition to narcotics. The importation and consumption of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) has also increased in the major metropolitan areas.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs In 2009
Policy Initiatives. Brazil's drug policies have shifted in recent years, including passage of a 2006 counternarcotics law that makes drug abuse a social and medical problem rather than a law enforcement problem. Instead of incarceration, offenders in possession of "personal use" quantities of any drug are cited and offered rehabilitation and community service. The law gives judges flexibility in determining the amount of drugs that constitute personal use. Criminal penalties remain for offenders charged with trafficking or distribution of drugs. In June 2008, Brazil passed a zero-tolerance law for drivers with any measurable content of alcohol or drugs in their blood, with a reported drop of 57 percent in traffic-related deaths in the state of Sao Paulo alone after heavy enforcement of the zero-tolerance law.
Pending anti-money laundering legislation drafted in 2005 that would give law enforcement officials greater access to financial and banking records was re-offered to the Brazilian Congress in June 2008 with amended language. However, after extensive political battles, the Brazilian Congress had still not voted on the legislation as of November 2009.
In October 2009, the Brazilian Minister of Justice proposed reforming the penal code to provide harsher penalties for major drug trafficking offenses. The Government of Brazil (GOB) is also undertaking a major evaluation of Brazil's public security situation in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, which will be hosted in 12 Brazilian cities, and is looking to improve the security situation in Rio de Janeiro prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics. The situation was brought to the forefront of international press during the weekend of October 17, when territorial fighting between rival gangs in Rio's favelas (slums) killed 14 people, including three policemen when their helicopter was shot down. The violence came just two weeks after the Olympic Committee selected Rio to host the 2016 Olympics.
During the 2009 reporting cycle for Brazil's aerial interdiction (shoot-down) program, there were no incidents in which the Brazilian Air Force security forces, including the Brazilian Air Force, federal police and other law enforcement agencies, used lethal force against aircraft or any deaths or injuries resulting from Brazilian Air Force action related to the program.
Accomplishments. With cooperation of the DEA in Brazil and DEA in Romania, the DPF seized 3.78 metric tons of cocaine packed in plywood inside a container at a southern Brazilian seaport, destined for export to Romania. The case developed from information provided to the DPF by DEA following a January 2009 seizure of over one metric tons of cocaine at the port of Constanta, Romania that came from Brazil. Follow-through investigation on the shipping company by the DPF, DEA, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) resulted in the seizure of nearly four metric tons of cocaine ready for export to Romania. This cocaine seizure was the second-largest in Brazil's history.
Police arrest and seizure statistics for state and local police agencies in Brazil are not centrally reported and are not always reliable. We rely on DPF records for statistics, and their estimates through November 2009 include seizures of: 18.9 metric tons of cocaine, 513 kilograms of crack cocaine, 1.4 metric tons of cocaine base, 150.6 metric tons of marijuana, 3.3 kilograms of heroin, and 183.3 tons of precursor chemicals. The DPF indicted 4,534 individuals on narcotics-related charges during this same period. According to the DEA, asset seizures yielded approximately $15 million in proceeds.
The DPF Special Investigation Units have been very successful in conducting complex international narcotics investigations in recent years. They have embraced the benefits of working in cooperation with other international law enforcement agencies to gain better investigative results. In 2009, the DPF culminated an investigation that dismantled a significant drug courier organization that transported cocaine to Europe and Ecstasy and LSD to Brazil. Twenty-eight defendants were arrested. Search warrants yielded seizures of 90,000 dosage units of Ecstasy and 50,000 dosage units of LSD, all of which were smuggled into Brazil from Europe.
This year, several key international arrests and seizures were made at the federal level including the head of an international cocaine and Ecstasy drug trafficking organization between Brazil and Europe. Pursuant to the arrests of the head trafficker in Denmark, the DPF served seizure warrants on a $2 million ocean-side home and a $150,000 32-foot custom cabin cruiser in Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, during an investigation in cooperation with the DEA, the DPF seized nearly four metric tons of cocaine in a container at the seaport of Paranagua, Parana State, Brazil.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Due to the difficulty in combating drug and contraband trafficking along its vast borders, Brazil increasingly relies on intelligence-driven interdiction operations. Through bilateral cooperation with the United States, Brazil has committed resources to increasing the number of DPF Special Investigative Units at drug transshipment points and interdiction units at Brazil's major international airports. Brazil has improved its drug and contraband detection capabilities at seven international airports: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Fortaleza, Salvador, Natal, and Recife. The DPF Mobile Airport Teams, created in 2008, continue to conduct unannounced interdiction operations at Brazil's other60 airports. Their operations are based on intelligence collection and analysis of drug trafficking patterns, focused especially on the growing number of international flights to and from the airports in northeastern Brazil.
In 2009, the DPF began conducting training for police from several Portuguese-speaking African countries, graduating 35 students from a two-month Organized Crime training course at the DPF National Academy. Countries that participated were Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, and Mozambique.
The DPF Canine Drug Detection Program has grown in size from 43 dogs to 55 dogs to support interdiction operations at over 20 key locations throughout Brazil. Twenty additional dogs will be purchased in early 2010. In 2009, the DPF added explosive detection capabilities to its Canine program operations.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, neither the GOB nor any of its senior officials encourage or facilitate production, shipment, or distribution of illicit drugs or laundering of drug money. However, non-narcotics related corruption remains worrisome. While the current government generally receives adequate marks for its anticorruption initiatives, domestic political scandals continued to be exposed in 2009 in the Brazilian media. Several schemes involving monthly payments from contractors to politicians were revealed over the past year, implicating officials at the federal, state, and municipal levels. In one high-profile case, the President of the Brazilian Senate, who is also a former president of Brazil, was accused of a range of improprieties, including holding an illegal bank account outside of Brazil and allowing a foundation carrying his name to receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money from the state-run oil company, Petrobras. Senate investigative committees dismissed charges against the Senate President and Petrobras later in the year. Opposition bloc politicians, including the Governor of Brasilia, are also under investigation for corrupt practices. Prosecution of corruption within government remains slow; few convictions for corruption within government were recorded in 2009.
Agreements and Treaties. Brazil is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention against Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol. Bilateral agreements based on the 1988 UN Drug Convention form the basis for counternarcotics cooperation between the United States and Brazil, resulting in a new Memorandum of Understanding on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement signed in August 2008. Brazil is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Brazil is also a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms. The U.S. and Brazil are parties to a 2001 bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty and a 2002 mutual assistance agreement on customs matters. These treaties provide the basis for the exchange of information to help prevent, investigate, and redress any offense against applicable laws of the United States or Brazil. Brazil has narcotics control or similar agreements with several South American neighbors: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Brazil also has accords with Portugal, Spain, the UK, Lebanon, Mexico, and South Africa. Even in the absence of treaties or similar arrangements, Brazil routinely cooperates with other countries in regards to narcotics-related crime investigations and actively participates in the UN Drug Control Program and the Organization of American States Anti-Drug Abuse Control Commission.
Extradition. The U.S. and Brazil cooperate in extradition matters under a 1961 extradition treaty. The Brazilian constitution prohibits the extradition of natural-born Brazilian citizens but allows for the extradition of naturalized Brazilian citizens for crimes committed prior to naturalization. Brazil extradited two individuals to the United States in 2009; the individuals were from Haiti and Colombia and were wanted on narcotics-related charges. Brazil cooperates with other countries in the extradition of non-Brazilians accused of narcotics-related crimes.
Cultivation/Production. To date, there is no evidence of cocaine-producing laboratories in Brazilian territory. However, as Brazil is the largest chemical producer in South America, the possibility of sourcing cocaine laboratories in Brazil exists and the DPF has discovered locals who are experienced in transforming cocaine base into crack cocaine for domestic use, primarily in the states of Amazonas, Acre, and Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Sao Paulo. Gangs such as the PCC and CV are involved in the conversion and distribution of crack in Brazil's major cities.
Cannabis is cultivated in the northeast region of Brazil for distribution nationally. In some areas the plants grow wild. The DPF conducts annual eradication operations in that region, with no USG assistance. In June 2009, the DPF discovered and destroyed a plantation of 168,000 marijuana plants. In October 2009, they destroyed two plantations, of 23,000 and 70,000 plants respectively. The DPF estimates that an initial investment of $11,000 in an illegal marijuana plantation will net the trafficker a profit of $350,000 from distribution. Brazilian marijuana is not considered good quality in comparison to Paraguayan marijuana and is typically sold in poorer urban areas at approximately $450 per kilogram.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) enter Brazil for both domestic consumption and for exportation abroad. Multi-ton shipments of cocaine transit Brazil each year by air, land, and river. Small aircraft from Colombia and Peru transit Brazil bound for Venezuela and Suriname. Aircraft from Bolivia land at clandestine airstrips on isolated ranches or uninhabited areas mainly in the state of Goias, in Brazil's central-west region. Two such aircraft loaded with Bolivian cocaine were forced to land by the Brazilian Air Force this year in Goias, which borders the Federal District, Brazil's capital. Brazilian authorities have expressed concern with the increase in Bolivian cocaine entering Brazil and being consumed domestically.
New trafficking routes and patterns through Brazil continue to emerge. The proximity of Brazil's northeast coast to West Africa makes it an excellent transshipment point for South America's criminal organizations. DEA reports that West Africa has been adapted into a storage and transshipment location for narcotics bound for the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. A significant portion of Colombian cocaine is transshipped to Guinea-Bissau through Brazil by air and sea. Large maritime fishing or freight vessels leave the northeastern Brazilian coast and can complete their undetected journey to West Africa in about five days. Recife, the closest point to Africa, is only 1,656 nautical miles from Guinea-Bissau.
Consequently, Brazil's northeast has become a location of choice for some Colombian trafficking organizations. This year, the DPF arrested numerous couriers with cocaine concealed on their body or in luggage leaving Brazil's airports en route to destinations such as Angola, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, and South Africa. The DPF's excellent interdiction efforts at Sao Paulo's international airport alone have yielded seizures of over one ton of cocaine through the first 10 months of 2009.
Ecstasy and LSD use in Brazil has been on the rise for the last two years. Although there is no known trend of Ecstasy or LSD production in Brazil, there is a continuous air passenger and cargo flow of the drugs from Europe to Brazil. In May 2009, the DPF arrested a 35 year old Romanian with 21,000 dosage units of Ecstasy at the Natal airport. The route of Amsterdam to Natal, via Lisbon, was arranged by a Dutch male. Within 10 days, the DPF individually arrested three more Romanians transporting Ecstasy under similar circumstances.
Criminal organizations, such as the Brazilian PCC and CV, benefit from the importation and distribution of drugs and weapons in Brazil. Their turf battles continue to fuel rising drug-related violence throughout Brazil, but mainly in Sao Paulo and Rio. Gangs smuggle weapons and hundreds of metric tons of marijuana from Paraguay annually, as well as cocaine from Bolivia and Colombia. They have also stolen weapons from police and military installations.
The PCC has an estimated 20,000 members throughout the country and is responsible for crimes such as prison riots, bank robberies, kidnappings, extortion, and murder, in addition to crack cocaine and weapons trafficking. The National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP) stated in October 2009 that of the over 30,000 homicides per year in Brazil, 23,000 are drug related. Rio de Janeiro police report that crack cocaine seizures have increased 542 percent over the same period in 2008.
The gangs of Brazil use the proceeds from the sale of narcotics to purchase weapons and tighten their control of the favelas in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other urban centers. Most recently, the Civil Police in Brasilia reported that the PCC has extended its reach to the Federal District by forming a new criminal gang called the PLD (Peace, Liberty and Justice). This violent gang receives crack cocaine from the PCC and distributes it in the satellite cities of the Federal District.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The National Secretariat of Policy on Drugs (SENAD) falls under the Office of the President. It was created in 1998 and is charged with overseeing the modernization of the National Policy on Drugs (PNAD). The new policy was completed and instituted in 2001. SENAD administers the National Anti-Drug Fund (FUNAD) and the Brazilian Observatory of Drug Information (OBID). With U.S. assistance, the OBID website is being upgraded by integrating information systems of the Federal Police, Health Ministry, and others. It is a site that offers information on drug use and its dangers, survey results, and medical research from recognized publications. SENAD is currently conducting numerous national demand reduction programs including a study of university students' drug and alcohol usage, a study of the effect of controlled substance use on the transit system, drug prevention education in primary schools (with USG support), training on detection and treatment of drug abuse for health care professionals, implementation of the Viva Voz 24-hour substance abuse counseling hotline, training of religious leaders in drug prevention for at-risk groups, and capacity building of the national highway police to enforce Brazil's zero-tolerance alcohol and drug law.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. United States counternarcotics policy in Brazil strives to improve cooperation at the policy and law enforcement levels to reinforce the GOB's ability to identify and dismantle international narcotics trafficking organizations, particularly those with linkages to criminal groups in the United States. Both the U.S. and GOB are concerned by the progressive rise in Bolivian coca production that affects Brazil. Two essential goals of the U.S. Government are to assist Brazil to strengthen its laws for narcotics and money laundering control and to enhance cooperation at the appropriate governmental levels.
Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral agreements provide the means for cooperation between U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies and Brazil's Ministry of Justice (MOJ), National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP), National Department of Prisons (DEPEN), and the National Secretariat of Policy on Drugs (SENAD). Cooperation has been excellent in the areas of drug prevention, combating drug trafficking, money laundering and diverse financial crimes, arms trafficking, and other organized crimes. In coordination with Brazilian law enforcement entities, the USG provided extensive training courses in 2009 on varied topics such as airport interdiction techniques, cyber crime investigations, forensics, device recovery data, and intelligence analysis. U.S. assistance continued to focus on improving the investigative and intelligence capabilities of Brazilian law enforcement agencies, especially the DPF. The U.S. Coast Guard provided mobile training in Incident Command System and in the development of an Emergency Operations Center to the Brazilian forces.
The DPF, with USG support, expanded the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) program to "satellite" installations in 20 states that link to the three main units located in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. These units, in collaboration with DEA and other foreign police, have been vital in conducting successful investigations and making seizures of internationally trafficked drugs, weapons, and money laundering.
The DPF also increased their airport interdiction capabilities by expanding operations from three to seven major international airports. With USG support, specialized equipment is being installed at airports in Sao Paulo, Rio, Manaus, Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife, and Natal.
The DPF Canine program has expanded their capabilities from solely drug detection to also include detection of explosives. With USG support, the Canine Unit has greatly increased their current working dog roster to be deployed in airports, seaports, and regional offices. They have also begun the first phase of a breeding project to meet long-term goals.
At the invitation of the GOB, the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs' Senior Corrections Advisor conducted an assessment of Brazil's Federal Prison system (DEPEN) in August 2009. Soon thereafter, DEPEN and the embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section entered into a partnership with the goals of curbing the ability of organized criminals to operate transnational crimes from within prisons, improve infrastructure capacities within DEPEN and the state prisons of Brazil, support DEPEN'S strategic plan to improve the corps of professionally trained managers, and provide consulting on appropriate, cost-effective designs for future prisons.
The USG continues to provide support to the National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP) training center, inaugurated in September 2008. The first group of 550 officers is taking the year long course in 2009. The end goal is for the training of 50 officers from each state who will return to their respective states to respond to civil unrest, prison riots, or gang violence. The U.S. provides support by donating special equipment and training specific to their needs.
The GOB improved antiterrorist financing capabilities by enhancing the role of the Financial Activities Oversight Council (COAF) to monitor and prevent possible funding for terrorist groups in Brazil. With U.S. assistance, COAF upgraded its database and data collection mechanisms. COAF is proactive in exchanging intelligence with its U.S. counterpart, the Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN).
The Road Ahead. The USG commends Brazil on its efforts to combat the international trafficking of illicit drugs and the related crimes that perpetuate the drug trade. Expanding DPF Special Investigative Units to reach all major shipment points in Brazil, continuing to expand airport interdiction efforts to cover the increasing amount of international flights and continuing to increase DPF presence in the states bordering Bolivia will help Brazil combat the rising level of cocaine production in neighboring Bolivia. Brazil's police forces, particularly the DPF, can further enhance their investigative and interdiction efforts by expanding the use of intelligence collection conducting focused counternarcotics operations. With ongoing efforts to expand its capacity, the DPF's Canine Unit is only a few years away from being a first-rate, self-sufficient program, capable of fulfilling its large responsibilities for upcoming major events. We also encourage the GOB to continue developing the capabilities of COAF, which has the potential to be South America's model for combating financial crimes. In addition, strengthening coordination between various federal law enforcement and public security entities, as well as state law enforcement agencies, will facilitate a unified front against the international drug cartels that smuggle drugs into and through Brazil, the national gangs that distribute drugs within Brazil, and the money laundering that fuels the trade.
Bulgaria is a transit country for heroin and cocaine, as well as a producer of illicit narcotics, especially amphetamine type stimulants. Astride Balkan transit routes, Bulgaria is vulnerable to illegal flows of drugs, people, contraband, and money. Heroin distributed in Europe moves through Bulgaria from Southwest Asia via the Northern Balkan route, while chemicals used for making heroin move through Bulgaria to Turkey and Afghanistan. Marijuana and cocaine are also transported through Bulgaria. The Bulgarian government is very cooperative, working with many U.S. agencies, especially DEA, and has reached out to neighboring states to cooperate in interdicting the illegal flow of drugs and persons. Despite formidable challenges, including in its legal system and longstanding problems with corruption, the newly elected Bulgarian government has shown a strong commitment to reforming its law enforcement agencies and judiciary. At the end of 2009, the government advanced legislation to improve its ability to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate illicit narcotics trafficking cases and other serious crimes. Parliament is also reviewing legislation to close legal loopholes used by organized crime and drug kingpins to avoid sentencing. Bulgaria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Bulgaria continues to be primarily a drug transit country for heroin and cocaine. Cannabis was the most used drug in Bulgaria followed by synthetics. Heroin use remained constant during the year with experts estimating the number of heroin users to be 20,000 to 30,000 in 2009. Consumption of cocaine, primarily consumed by the wealthy, continued to increase. Despite success in reducing locally produced synthetic drugs, according to NGOs and international observers, Bulgaria continues to be a source of some synthetic drug production, including amphetamines, which are produced for the domestic market and exported to Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula.
The new government, elected in July, stepped up efforts to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. The new customs chief implemented reforms, including firing 104 unqualified or corrupt employees. From July to October 2009, customs seized 860 kilos of drugs compared to 169 kilos seized from January to June, a 408 percent increase. In October, the new government created anticorruption and organized crime joint taskforces to target high level organized crime members, including known drug traffickers. Despite progress in reforming law enforcement agencies and proposal of new legislation, a lack of financing, inadequate equipment, lingering corruption, and excessively formalistic judicial procedures continue to be challenges in counternarcotics efforts. The new government has proposed amendments to the criminal procedure code to streamline evidence collection, expedite the judicial process, and close legal loopholes.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Bulgarian government adopted a new five-year National Strategy for Drug Control (2009-2013) in November. Proposed changes to the criminal procedure code being debated in parliament would streamline evidence collection, expedite the judicial process, and close legal loopholes that organized crime figures and known drug traffickers use to avoid sentencing. The new government is also pushing through legislation to strengthen its asset forfeiture laws, which would prevent drug kingpins from transferring assets to family members or associates to avoid seizure.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Customs Agency under the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior (MOI), along with several specialized police services under the MOI, including the Border Police and the Bulgarian National Police (BNP) and General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP), are engaged in counternarcotics efforts. In November, the parliament passed a high-profile bill to reform the State Agency for National Security (DANS), clarifying its law enforcement role in relation to the Ministry of Interior. The bill removed organized crime, drugs, dual use goods, and trans-border crime from the agency's jurisdiction, and prohibited DANS from conducting controlled delivery and undercover operations. The bill was widely viewed as a step in the right direction by local observers and Bulgarian law enforcement, as it clarified the role and responsibility of relevant agencies. Law enforcement bodies generally maintained drug seizures, despite a noticeable decrease in the first half of the year. In 2009, police seized 218 kilograms of heroin, 1.1 kilograms of cocaine, 253 kilograms of amphetamines, 6,635 tablets of ecstasy, 40 kilograms of marijuana, and 9,881 kilograms of cannabis. From January to November, the Customs Agency seized 719 kilograms of heroin, 234 kilograms of cocaine, 23 kilograms of ecstasy, 5 kilograms of marijuana, 44 kilograms of hashish and 588 tablets of psychotropic substances. Bulgarian authorities shared information and developed joint operations with international law enforcement agencies. Police and prosecutors also worked with foreign counterparts to obtain evidence on the use of offshore corporations and bank accounts by Bulgarian money launderers to hide drug proceeds. Bulgaria's Commission for asset forfeiture (an independent agency) filed charges under Bulgarian law against a U.S. cocaine trafficker convicted in federal court in Miami, using that U.S. conviction to proceed against his properties in Bulgaria. From January to June there were 1453 investigations, 1042 prosecutions and 872 convictions for drug crimes.
Corruption. Corruption remains a serious problem in law enforcement and the judiciary. Despite some reforms, the judiciary as a whole (which includes prosecutors and judges) consistently receives poor scores in the area of public confidence in opinion polls. As a matter of government policy, Bulgaria does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is also no evidence that senior Bulgarian officials engage in these activities.
Agreements and Treaties. Bulgaria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1990 Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of Proceeds from Crime. Bulgaria is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. A new U.S.-Bulgarian Extradition Treaty entered into force in 2009, which includes narcotics offenses as extraditable offenses and allows for the extradition of Bulgarian nationals. The first extradition of a Bulgarian national--in November 2009--was to face drug trafficking charges in the District of Nebraska. The U.S. and Bulgaria also have a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. In addition, the two countries have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, which will enter into force on February 1, 2010.
Cultivation and Production. The only illicit drug crop known to be cultivated in Bulgaria is cannabis, primarily for domestic consumption. The full extent of this illicit drug cultivation is not precisely known, but is a major source of supplementary income for retirees in some areas in the southwestern part of the country. Experts ascribe cultivation of cannabis to the ready availability of uncultivated land and Bulgaria's amenable climate, particularly along the Greek border. Bulgarian Cannabis is not trafficked significantly beyond Bulgaria's own borders. Recent evidence suggests that there has been a decrease in the manufacture of synthetic stimulant products in Bulgaria after some illegal laboratories relocated to Eastern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Armenia in order to be closer to consumers and to reduce risks associated with border crossings. Local production of amphetamines, mainly for the local market, usually takes place in small laboratories with limited capacity. From January to November the police closed five such facilities.
Drug Flow/Transit. Synthetic drugs, heroin, and cocaine are the main drugs transported through Bulgaria. Heroin from Afghanistan has traditionally been trafficked to Western Europe on the Balkan route through Turkey. The trend of heroin traffic moving by the more circuitous routes through the Caucasus and Russia to the north and through the Mediterranean to the south is strengthening. Other trafficking routes crossing Bulgaria pass through Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia. In addition to heroin and synthetic drugs, smaller amounts of marijuana and cocaine also transit through Bulgaria. Sporadic cocaine shipments from South America are transported via boat to the Black Sea and Greece, then on to Western Europe. Precursor chemicals for the production of heroin pass from the Western Balkans through Bulgaria to Turkey and on to Afghanistan. Synthetic drugs produced in Bulgaria are also trafficked through Turkey to markets in the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula. Principal methods of transport for heroin and synthetics include buses, vans, TIR trucks, and cars, with smaller amounts sent by air. Cocaine is primarily trafficked into Bulgaria by air in small quantities, and by motor vehicles and maritime vessels in larger quantities.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Bulgarian government includes methadone maintenance as a heroin treatment option in the national healthcare system. Nationwide there are 30 outpatient units offering methadone substitution programs with the capacity to treat 5,560 patients and 15 inpatient clinics with the capacity to treat approximately 2,000 drug addicts and alcoholics. None of these facilities has a separate unit for juvenile patients. In addition, there are seven social rehabilitation programs, two of which are long-term community based programs. The Bulgarian National Center for Addictions (NCA), co-funded by the EU Monitoring Center for Drug Addictions, conducts prevention campaigns. There are 26 regional councils on narcotics implementing national drug prevention policy at the local level and 22 information centers. The information centers, financially supported by the municipalities, have been consistently under-funded, which adversely effects staff retention. According to press reports, more than 30 percent of high school students reported having tried marijuana, and five percent report having used amphetamines at least once. According to the National Focal Center for Drugs and Addictions, Bulgaria now has more than 20,000-30,000 heroin addicts of which just 4,000-5,000 undergo treatment each year. Officials estimate that there are between 40,000 to 45,000 drug addicts total. In 2008, the National Statistical Institute reported 74 drug-related deaths, compared to 52 in 2007.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA operations for Bulgaria are managed from the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. DEA's current emphasis in Bulgaria is on conducting and coordinating joint international investigations with MOI counterparts and providing DEA technical and legal expertise and assistance. DEA, with some support from DoD through the U.S. European Command, also strives to arrange for counternarcotics training for Bulgarian law enforcement personnel; for example, a U.S. Coast Guard mobile training team provided a course in professional military education in 2009. A joint operation between DEA and local police resulted in closing a laboratory for synthetic drugs production near Sofia and seizing 150 kilograms of amphetamine tablets and 2.5 kilograms of amphetamine substances. A DOJ resident legal advisor, funded by State Department INL assistance, works with the Bulgarian government on law enforcement issues, including trafficking in drugs and persons, intellectual property, cyber-crime, and other issues. Another DOJ prosecutor advises the Bulgarian government on organized crime cases. Although final approval has still not come from Washington, DEA has plans to create a full-time presence in Bulgaria, a move strongly supported by the mission.
The Road Ahead. The new Bulgarian government has demonstrated political will to combat major organized crime rings and has begun prosecuting numerous cases of high-level corruption. The U.S. government will continue to actively support Bulgaria's efforts to strengthen its asset forfeiture, money laundering, and anticorruption laws. Increased international assistance and engagement on law enforcement and judicial reform will boost Bulgaria's internal capacity and bolster new reforms.
The annual U.S. government estimate for Burma's opium production showed that poppy cultivation increased 4 percent to 22,500 ha in 2008 from 21,700 ha in 2007. The U.S. survey found that potential opium production increased 26 percent to 340 metric tons, sufficient to produce 32 metric tons of pure heroin. Ninety-four percent of poppy was grown in Shan State, with limited cultivation observed in Kachin State. A significant downward trend in poppy cultivation observed in Burma since 1998 was reversed in 2007. Preliminary results from "off-season" UNODC surveys of poppy cultivation and production in Burma indicate growers are producing crops during periods not previously associated with poppy cultivation, perhaps to avoid government eradication efforts. The Government of Burma (GOB) made significant steps in poppy eradication efforts over the last decade, a period during which Burma sunk to a distant second after Afghanistan, in world poppy cultivation rankings, but it would seem the direction of cultivation and production have reversed in response to very high regional opium prices in Southeast Asia. Opium farmers are also reportedly taking advantage of efficiencies provided by improved inputs (fertilizer and irrigation systems) to increase yields. The GOB has not provided most opium farmers with access to alternative development opportunities, though UN and other international programs have had some impact. Production and export of synthetic drugs (amphetamine-type stimulants, crystal methamphetamine and Ketamine) from Burma continue unabated.
Despite Burma's overall decline in poppy cultivation since 1998 a dramatic surge has taken place in the production and export of synthetic drugs. The Golden Triangle, where the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos converge on the Mekong River, is now dotted with drug labs producing synthetic drugs for the Asian market and beyond. Burma is a significant player in the manufacture and regional trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Drug gangs based in the Burma-China and Burma-Thailand border areas, many of whose members are ethnic Chinese criminals, produce several hundred million methamphetamine tablets annually for markets in Thailand, China, and India, as well as for onward distribution beyond the region. There are also indications that groups in Burma have increased the production and trafficking of crystal methamphetamine, known as "Ice."
Through its Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC), the GOB cooperates regularly and shares information with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) on narcotics investigations. In recent years, the GOB has also increased its law enforcement cooperation with Thai, Chinese, and Indian counternarcotics authorities, especially through renditions, deportations, and extraditions of suspected drug traffickers. Burmese authorities, working in cooperation with several foreign partners, made significant seizures in 2009 including: a sizeable maritime seizure in Burmese waters, a large seizure of ATS, and the largest heroin seizure in Southeast Asian history. During the 2009 drug certification process, the U.S. determined that Burma was one of three countries in the world that had "failed demonstrably" to meet its international counternarcotics obligations. Major concerns include: unsatisfactory efforts by Burma to deal with the burgeoning ATS production and trafficking problem; failure to take concerted action to bring members of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) to justice following the unsealing of a U.S. narcotics trafficking indictment against that group in January 2005; failure to investigate and prosecute military officials for drug-related corruption; and failure to expand demand-reduction, prevention, and drug-treatment programs to reduce drug-use and control the spread of HIV/AIDS. Burma is a party to several international narcotics control agreements, including the 1988 UN Convention.
II. Status of Country
Burma is the world's second largest producer of illicit opium. Eradication efforts and implementation of poppy-free zones by hill tribe growers reduced cultivation levels dramatically between 1998 and 2006, especially in Wa territory. In 2007, a significant resurgence of cultivation occurred, particularly in eastern and southern Shan State and also in Kachin State. In 2008, the upward trend in cultivation and production continued.
According to the UNODC, opium prices in the Golden Triangle have increased in recent years. This trend continued in 2008. Burmese village-level opium prices or farm-gate prices increased from $153 per kilogram in 2004 to $187 in 2005, to $230 in 2006, to $261 in 2007, and to $301 per kilogram in 2008. Cumulatively, this represents an increase in the farm gate opium price of almost 97 percent. UNODC estimates that Burmese opium sales contribute less than half of the annual household cash income of farmers who cultivate opium, but many farmers use their opium income to pay for food between harvests. In the areas where opium contributes most to household income, Southern Shan State and Kayah State, 46 percent of the average yearly income of opium cultivating households was derived from opium sales in 2008. At the other end of the spectrum for the less important opium growing areas, poppy cultivation accounted for only 6 percent of household income for cultivators in Northern Shan State, according to UNODC.
The cumulative decline in poppy cultivation in Burma since 1996 has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the local production and export of synthetic drugs. Opium, heroin, and ATS are produced predominantly in the border regions of Shan State and in areas controlled by ethnic minority groups. Between 1989 and 1997, the Burmese government negotiated a series of ceasefire agreements with many armed ethnic minorities, offering them limited autonomy and continued tolerance of their narcotics production and trafficking activities in return for peace. In June 2005, the UWSA announced implementation in Wa territory of a long-delayed ban on opium production and trafficking.
Although poppy cultivation in the Wa territory remains low, the U.S. government survey revealed that 380 ha of poppy were grown there in 2008, down from 480 ha in 2007. While the cultivation of opium poppies in Wa territory has decreased to almost nothing in 2008, there are indications from many sources that UWSA leaders replaced opium cultivation with the manufacture and trafficking of ATS pills and "Ice" in their territory. The leadership of the largest armed trafficking groups is ethnic Chinese criminals. Although the government has not succeeded in persuading/forcing the UWSA to stop its illicit drug production and trafficking, the GOB's Anti-Narcotic Task Forces continued to pressure UWSA traffickers in 2009 and arrested low- to mid-level UWSA traffickers outside Wa controlled territory.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Burma's official 15-year counternarcotics plan, launched in 1999, calls for the eradication of all narcotics production and trafficking by the year 2014, one year ahead of an ASEAN-wide plan of action that calls for the entire region to be drug-free by 2015. To meet this goal, the GOB initiated its plan in stages, using eradication efforts combined with a few planned alternative development programs in individual townships, predominantly in Shan State. The government initiated its second five-year phase in 2004. Ground surveys by the Joint GOB-UNODC Illicit Crop Monitoring Program indicate a steady decline in poppy cultivation and opium production in areas receiving focused attention, due to the availability of some alternative livelihood measures (including crop substitution which is usually financed by external donors), the discovery and closure of clandestine refineries, stronger interdiction of illicit traffic, and annual poppy eradication programs. The UNODC estimates that the GOB eradicated 4,820 hectares of poppies during the 2008 cropping season compared to 3,598 hectares in 2007, a 34 percent increase. The most significant multilateral effort in support of Burma's counternarcotics program is the UNODC presence in Shan State.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Burmese law enforcement officials have achieved meaningful successes during 2009. Seizures are up, including a nearly thirteen-fold increase in the seizure of methamphetamine tablets and sharp upward spikes in the amounts of precursor chemicals seized. Most notably, there are increased signs of GOB cooperation with foreign law enforcement partners.
The CCDAC, under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, leads all drug-enforcement efforts in Burma and comprises personnel from the national police, customs, military intelligence, and army. The CCDAC coordinates 26 counternarcotics task forces throughout Burma. Most are located in major cities and along key transit routes near Burma's borders with China, India, and Thailand. As is the case with most Burmese government entities, the CCDAC suffers from a severe lack of funding, equipment, and training to support its law-enforcement mission. The Burmese Army and Customs Department support the police in drug enforcement. Burma is engaged in drug abuse cooperation with its neighbors China, India, and Thailand, with varying levels of interaction. Since 1997, Burma and Thailand have had more than 12 cross-border law enforcement cooperation meetings. According to the GOB, Thailand has contributed over $1.6 million to support an opium crop substitution and infrastructure project in southeastern Shan State. Beginning in 2007, the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) posted an officer at the Thai embassy in Rangoon.
Burma/China cross-border law enforcement cooperation has increased significantly, resulting in several successful operations and the handover of Chinese fugitives who had fled to Burma. While China has not formally funded alternative development programs, it has actively encouraged investment in many projects in the Wa area and other border regions. There are indications that China has conducted its own opium cultivation and production surveys in regions of Burma bordering the PRC, although Chinese officials have not shared data resulting from those surveys with other parties.
After Burma and India signed an agreement on drug control cooperation in 1993, the two countries agreed to hold cross border law enforcement meetings on a bi-annual basis, though the last meeting took place on September 11, 2004, in Kolkata.
On January 22, 2009, CCDAC seized 112 kilograms of heroin at a house in Rangoon, Burma, the largest seizure of heroin ever to occur in Rangoon. On January 25, 2009, CCDAC seized 26 kilograms of heroin hidden inside a container of lumber on the MV Kota Tegap bound for Singapore. This was the first ever seizure by Burmese authorities on an outbound container vessel.
On February 19, 2009, the CCDAC arrested UWSA associate U Hla Aung in Rangoon. According to Burmese law enforcement, U Hla Aung was engaged in the underground remittance of narcotics proceeds between Special Region Number Two (UWSA-controlled) and Rangoon. CCDAC stated that the transactions were all conducted on behalf of the UWSA. CCDAC speculated that U Hla Aung may have conducted financial transactions on behalf of targets connected to the January heroin seizures in Rangoon.
On February 24, 2009, CCDAC and the Burmese Army raided a camp utilized by the Naw Kham Militia in Pa Hsa Village, Tachilek, Burma. Naw Kham was a former Mong Tai Army officer who now taxes narcotics shipments along the Mekong River. During the raid, Burmese authorities seized 3,326,695 tablets of methamphetamine, 25 kilograms of ephedrine, 12.1 kilograms of heroin, as well as weapons, munitions, and currency.
On July 10, 2009, the CCDAC Tachileck Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) seized approximately 762 kilograms of heroin and 340,000 tablets of methamphetamine, representing the largest heroin seizure ever recorded in Southeast Asia.
On August 8, 2009, Burmese authorities raided a compound belonging to the ethnic Kokang (Han Chinese) Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) leader Peng Chia-sheng. The GOB claimed the site was used to manufacture weapons and store methamphetamine. The Burmese Police issued arrest warrants for Peng Chia-sheng and several relatives. According to the GOB, on August 27, 2009, MNDAA forces loyal to Peng Chia-sheng took 39 Burmese police officers hostage and detained them in a small detention facility in Laukai. On August 28, 2009, the Burmese Army assaulted the detention facility. At some point, either prior to or during the assault, MNDAA forces executed 14 of the police officers, according to GOB accounts. After brief combat with MNDAA forces, the Burmese Army gained control of Laukai and Special Region Number One. The raid and ensuing combat broke a ceasefire which had stood for 20 years and sparked a short-term exodus of refugees to China. Upon gaining control of Laukai, Burmese authorities claim they seized approximately 12 million tablets of methamphetamine, 8 million tablets of ephedrine, 246 kilograms of ephedrine, 6,814 liters of various acids, 3,076 liters of ether, 64,000 tablets of cold medicine, 7,056 liters of acetone, 2,161 liters of ethyl alcohol, 5,979 liters of chloroform, as well as lesser amounts of other chemicals. The GOB attributed this contraband to Peng Chia-sheng and his immediate family.
On August 24, 2009, the CCDAC Tachilek ANTF seized 2,926,000 tablets of methamphetamine, 36.4 kilograms of heroin, and 10 kilograms of methamphetamine (in "Ice" form).
On September 11, 2009, the Tachilek CCDAC Anti Narcotics Task Force (ANTF), acting on detailed information provided by DEA Rangoon, raided a residence in Tachilek, Burma. The raid resulted in the seizure of approximately 2.6 million methamphetamine tablets and the arrest of four suspects.
Burmese law enforcement officials coordinate closely with DEA and share information to conduct joint investigations. Some of the most notable seizures recorded this year, such as the one in Tachilek, were the product of collaboration between DEA and the CCDAC.
The GOB has not taken direct action against the seven living UWSA leaders indicted by a U.S. court in 2005, although authorities have taken action against other, lower-ranking members of the UWSA syndicate.
Summary statistics provided by Burmese drug officials indicate that from January 2008 through December 2008, Burmese police, army, and the Customs Service together seized 1,464 kilograms of raw opium, 2,452 kilograms of low quality opium, 80 kilograms of opium oil, 88 kilograms of heroin, 206 kilograms of morphine base (#3 heroin), 1,102,199 methamphetamine tablets, 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine ("Ice"), 724 kilograms of ephedrine, 9,335 liters of other precursor chemicals, 1,922 kilograms of precursor chemical powder, and 1,378 kilograms of caffeine. For the period of January 2009 through September 2009, Burmese authorities indicate they seized 632 kilograms of raw opium, 456 kilograms of low quality opium, 19 kilograms of opium oil, 1,045 kilograms of heroin, 324 kilograms of morphine base (#3 heroin), 13,105,418 tablets of methamphetamine, 330 kilograms of powdered methamphetamine, 124 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine ("Ice"), 1,639 kilograms of ephedrine, 19,836 liters of other precursor chemicals, 1,388 kilograms of precursor chemical powder, and 1,078 kilograms of caffeine.
Corruption. There are no Burmese laws specifically related to corruption. While no public reports have emerged from the secretive Burmese regime to indicate that senior officials in the Burmese Government are directly involved in the drug trade, there are credible indications that mid- and-lower level military leaders and government officials, particularly those posted in border and drug-producing areas, are involved in facilitating the drug trade. A few lower-ranking officials have been prosecuted, but Burma has failed to indict any military official above the rank of colonel for drug-related corruption. Given the extent of drug manufacture and trafficking in Burma, most observers believe it is likely that other individuals with high-level positions in the Burmese regime, and their relatives, are involved in narcotics trafficking or misuse their positions to protect narcotics traffickers. The government of Burma does not as a matter of government policy encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
The Burmese regime monitors travel, communications, and activities of its citizens to maintain tight control of the population. GOB officials are likely aware of the cultivation, production, and trafficking of illegal narcotics in areas they control.
Agreements and Treaties. Burma is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Burma is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, and has signed but has not ratified the UN Corruption Convention.
Cultivation and Production. According to the UNODC opium survey, in 2008 the total land area under poppy cultivation was 28,500 hectares, a 3 percent increase from 2007. However, UNODC estimated that yield per hectare dropped by 12.7 percent, resulting in a 10.9 percent decrease in potential dry opium production, from 460 metric tons in 2007 to 410 metric tons in 2008. The decrease in potential opium production in 2008 may reflect unfavorable growing weather in major opium poppy growing areas. While the UNODC undertakes annual estimates of poppy cultivation and production, the U.S. has not conducted a joint crop survey with Burma since 2004. The United States continues to seek GOB cooperation to perform a new joint crop survey, working under the assumption that the results of such a survey would be useful for policy officials in both governments.
A U.S.-only opium survey of Burma found different results from the UNODC survey. The annual U.S. government estimate for Burma's opium production showed that poppy cultivation increased 4 percent to 22,500 ha in 2008 from 21,700 ha in 2007. The U.S. survey found that potential opium production increased 26 percent to 340 metric tons, sufficient to produce 32 metric tons of pure heroin. Ninety-four percent of poppy was grown in Shan State, with limited cultivation observed in Kachin State.
Most ATS and heroin in Burma is produced in small, mobile labs located near Burma's borders with China and Thailand, primarily in territories controlled by active or former insurgent groups. A growing amount of methamphetamine is reportedly produced in labs co-located with heroin refineries in areas controlled by the UWSA, the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), and groups inside the Kokang autonomous region.
Drug Flow/Transit. Ethnic Chinese criminal gangs dominate the drug syndicates operating in Wa, Shan, and Kokang areas. Heroin and methamphetamine produced by these groups is trafficked overland and via the Mekong River, primarily through China, Thailand, India, Laos and, to a lesser extent, via Bangladesh, and within Burma. There are credible indications that drug traffickers are increasingly using maritime routes from ports in southern Burma to reach transshipment points and markets in southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and beyond.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Although opium addiction remains high in places of historic or current opium production, usage of more expensive opiate derivates (e.g. heroin) and ATS has historically been lower in these regions. Traditionally, some farmers used opium as a painkiller and an antidepressant, often because they lack access to other medicine or adequate healthcare. There has been a shift in Burma away from opium smoking toward injecting heroin, a habit that creates more addicts and poses greater public health risks. Extremely difficult economic conditions will likely continue to stifle substantial growth in overall drug consumption, but the trend toward injecting narcotics is of significant concern.
The GOB maintains there are fewer than 100,000 registered addicts in Burma. Surveys conducted by international organizations and NGOs suggest the addict population could be many times larger. According to the most recent UNODC figures on ATS use from 2005, Burma's ATS use prevalence was 0.2 percent among the population age 16-64. The most recent UNODC opiate use estimates from 2008 indicate a prevalence of 0.6 percent, second highest in the East and South East Asia region. The UNODC estimated in 2004 that there were at least 15,000 regular ATS users in Burma; there are likely many more now, although official figures are unavailable.
Intravenous drug use is, to an extent, driving the spread of HIV/AIDS in Burma. According to Burma's National AIDS Program in 2008, one third of officially reported HIV/AIDS cases are attributable to intravenous drug use, one of the highest rates in the world. Infection rates are highest in Burma's ethnic regions, and specifically among mining communities in those areas where opium, heroin, and ATS are most readily available.
Burmese demand reduction programs are in part coercive and in part voluntary. Addicts are required to register with the GOB and can be prosecuted if they fail to register and accept treatment. Demand reduction programs and facilities are limited, however. There are six major drug treatment centers under the Ministry of Health, 49 other smaller detoxification centers, and eight rehabilitation centers. The Ministry of Health in 2006 began to treat heroin addicts with Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) in four drug treatment centers.
In 2009, UNODC opened five new drop-in drug treatment centers to complement the 12 centers already established. UNODC-sponsored drop-in centers and outreach workers treated approximately 6,800 persons for drug abuse through November 2009. The GOB conducts narcotics awareness programs through the public school system. In addition, the government has established several demand reduction programs in cooperation with NGOs. These include programs coordinated with CARE Myanmar, World Concern, and Population Services International (PSI), focused on addressing injected drug use as a key factor in halting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy and Programs. As a result of the 1988 suspension of direct USG counternarcotics assistance to Burma, the USG has limited engagement with the Burmese government in regard to narcotics control. U.S. DEA, through the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, shares drug-related intelligence with the GOB and conducts joint drug-enforcement investigations with Burmese counternarcotics authorities. In 2008 and 2009, these joint investigations led to several significant seizures, arrests, and convictions of drug traffickers and producers. The U.S. conducted opium yield surveys in the mountainous regions of Shan State from 1993 until 2004, with assistance provided by Burmese counterparts. These surveys gave both governments a more accurate understanding of the scope, magnitude, and changing geographic distribution of Burma's opium crop. In 2005-2009, the GOB and USG did not conduct joint opium yield surveys, although the U.S. did conduct a unilateral study in late 2009. Bilateral counternarcotics projects are limited to one small U.S.-supported crop substitution project in Shan State, which received its final grant of U.S. funds during FY 2009. No U.S. counternarcotics funding directly benefits or passes through the GOB. In September 2009, the USG identified Burma as having "failed demonstrably" to meet its international counternarcotics obligations, one of three countries in the world that failed to meet this standard.
The Road Ahead. The GOB has made meaningful gains over the past decade in reducing opium poppy cultivation and opium production. Increased domestic efforts, as well as expanded cooperation with UNODC and regional partners, particularly China and Thailand will help maintain those gains.
In order to be sustainable, a true opium replacement strategy must combine an extensive range of counternarcotics actions, including crop eradication and effective law enforcement, alternative development options, support for former poppy farmers, and openness to outside assistance. To reach its goals of eradicating all narcotics production and trafficking by 2014, the GOB must seek to cooperate closely with the ethnic groups currently involved in drug production and trafficking, especially the Wa, to reduce production and must refuse to condone continued involvement by ceasefire groups in the narcotics trade;. Corruption always plays a role in narcotics trafficking. To become opium-free by 2014, the GOB will have to confront corruption effectively; and must enforce its counternarcotics laws consistently. The GOB must further take action against high-level drug traffickers and their organizations, strictly enforce its money-laundering legislation, and expand prevention and drug treatment programs to reduce drug use and control the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.
The GOB needs to consider effective new steps to address the explosion of ATS production and trafficking from Burmese territory by gaining closer cooperation from ethnic groups, especially the Wa, to counter the manufacture and distribution of ATS. Finally, the GOB will want to consider the troubling growth of domestic demand for heroin and ATS, and find some response.
Increased international aid--including development assistance and law-enforcement aid--could complement the GOB's own required efforts in reducing drug production and trafficking in Burma. However, the direct provision of assistance to the Burmese government by many donors, including the U.S. has been contingent on meaningful political change.
Cambodia has a significant and growing illegal drug problem consisting of increased levels of consumption, trafficking, and production of dangerous drugs. Cambodia's proximity to the "Golden Triangle" and porous land, river, sea, and air borders make it attractive to traffickers of contraband of all sorts including drugs. Recent trends indicate that Cambodia also produces narcotics destined for local and regional markets. Drug use, particularly of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as crystal methamphetamine (commonly referred to as "ice"), is escalating and cuts across socio-economic lines. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) is committed to reducing the threat of drug abuse and trafficking and achieving the regional goal of a drug-free ASEAN by 2015, however continuing concerns about corruption, limited resources, and lack of capacity and coordination hamper government efforts. The National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) and the Cambodia Anti-Drug Department (CADD) cooperate closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), regional counterparts, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
According to NGO officials working with drug addicts, the number of drug users in Cambodia is on the rise, with increased availability of drugs reaching deeper into the rural areas. The availability and quality of drug treatment centers is inadequate to cope with the rising demand. Although Cambodia's 1996 drug law provides guaranteed access to drug treatment for all who need it, government rehabilitation centers lack trained professionals, resources, and standards of care. Cambodia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Cambodia continues to play a role in the regional transit of drugs from the Golden Triangle. A spill-over effect has resulted in an expansion of the country's narcotics problem with higher domestic illicit drug consumption and, as evidenced by recent discoveries of large and medium-scale production sites, an increased production capability for synthetic drugs like methamphetamine. Many experts believe additional clandestine labs, engaged in tableting as well as production, are operating within the country. Cambodia continues to be a producer and exporter of natural sassafras oil, which can be used as a precursor for Ecstasy (MDMA) in addition to many licit products such as perfumes, insecticides, and soaps. The harvest, sale, and export of sassafras oil are illegal in Cambodia.
ATS is the most prevalent narcotic in Cambodia, accounting for nearly 81 percent of drug use according to the NACD. Both ATS tablets, known locally as yama, and crystal methamphetamine are widely available. Heroin addiction, currently a problem for a relatively small number of users located mainly in Phnom Penh, is a growing problem in Cambodia. A recent UNODC baseline survey of 12 provinces found injecting drug use was especially prominent in the border areas, but some injecting drug abusers were found in all survey provinces. Cocaine, ketamine and opium are also available in Cambodia. It is a common practice among the homeless population to sniff glue or similar inhalant products, particularly for minors living on the streets. NACD statistics reveal 77 percent of all drug users are below the age of 26; however local NGO Korsang surveys reveal 93 percent of drug users contacted via outreach and 68 percent of drug users who frequent Korsang's drop-in center are over 25. The majority of Korsang's clients are injecting drug users.
Although the exact number of illicit drug users in Cambodia is not known, the NACD estimates 5,900 users and the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS) estimates 13,000. According to NGOs and law enforcement experts working in the field, the actual figures are likely to be much higher than any of these estimates, and could reach over 60,000. Data now indicates that the drug problem in Cambodia has spread further into the rural areas, with the highest usage in the provinces bordering Laos and Thailand. The HIV prevalence rate among all drug users as a group is only slightly higher than the national average of 0.9 percent. However, among injecting drug users (IDUs), it is estimated at 24.4 percent.
Cambodia has historically been an easy target for traffickers of illicit cargo given its porous borders, corruption, and weakened capacity for law enforcement. Heroin made in Burmese drug labs as well as cocaine and Ecstasy are trafficked through Cambodian international airports, land, and maritime borders. The arrest of Chinese nationals involved in large narcotics cases suggests linkages with transnational criminal syndicates. A surge of activity related to West African organized crime elements is of concern to the CADD. UNODC contends that the majority of meth tablets feeding the growing domestic demand are produced by mixing methamphetamines manufactured in other countries with local adulterants. This process generates higher quantities of lower grade drugs which are available to a greater number of consumers at a reduced price.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Cambodian government is legitimately concerned about the rise of drug trafficking and abuse, and remains dedicated to stemming the flow of illicit drugs through the country. However, corruption, low educational levels, low salaries, limited budgets, hierarchical decision making processes, and limited information sharing between agencies all affect the quality of public services in Cambodia. In early 2009, a former commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and leads the NACD as his sole responsibility. He is currently focused on drug free schools, colleges, hotels, guesthouses and entertainment establishments.
The NACD continues to implement Cambodia's first 5-year national plan on narcotics control (20062010), which includes demand reduction, supply reduction, drug law enforcement, and expansion of international cooperation. The next installment of the plan is expected to focus on drug users, provision of drug treatment, and health care.
Over the past few years, the Cambodian government has worked to strengthen previously weak legal penalties for drug-related offenses. The current drug law stipulates a maximum penalty of a $25,000 fine and life imprisonment for individuals convicted of certain drug trafficking violations and allows proceeds from the sale of seized assets to be used to finance law enforcement, drug awareness, and drug prevention efforts. A 2007 directive issued by the Ministry of Health increased penalties for sassafras oil production and distribution to two to five years in jail, plus fines.
The RGC has responded to the increasing complexity of the drug situation in Cambodia by introducing a new draft "Law on Drug Control" which would replace the 1996 drug law. The draft law is intended to increase the severity of punishments, strengthen provisions on seizure and forfeiture of property, and improve procedural requirements. The RGC invited UNODC and several experts to workshops during various drafting stages to ensure the draft law is consistent with UN conventions. The draft law is expected to be passed and enacted in early 2010; although the new law meets international standards, some observers fear that there is limited capacity within the RGC to develop the required regulations and procedures to support its full implementation.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The NACD in conjunction with the CADD has made strides in becoming a more effective organization and is emerging as a leader in the region. This improvement was reflected by the 2008 appointment of the head of the CADD to serve as Chairman of the International Drug Enforcement Conference Far East Regional Working Group (IDEC-FERWG). Moreover, there were several events in 2009 organized by the NACD where seized drugs were publicly burned. The NACD's 2009-2010 budget remained at $1.15 million, which was a slight decrease from $1.25 million in 2008-2009. Compared to the same time period in 2008, drug-related seizures and arrests increased in the first nine months of 2009.
On August 19, 2009, Conservation International (CI) reported that Forestry Administration officials seized 2,600 liters of sassafras oil. The oil was found in barrels below a false bottom of a dump truck driven by 27-year-old Vietnamese man.
On June 17, 2009, three Nigerian nationals were arrested in Phnom Penh for possession of nearly one kilogram of heroin hidden inside large buttons on their clothes. Twenty additional Nigerian nationals were subsequently arrested for drug trafficking.
On June 12, 2009, a government-led raid resulted in the seizure of 5.7 tons of sassafras oil in a wildlife sanctuary in the Cardamom Mountains. Ministry of Environment rangers received an anonymous tip-off about the hidden cache of oil, which resulted in the largest seizure of its kind inside Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary. No arrests were made.
On June 5, 2009, Phnom Penh counternarcotics police arrested eight people for suspected involvement in an illegal drug laboratory. During the raid, police found more than 3 tons of precursor chemicals commonly used for making methamphetamine.
On March 21 and 22, 2009, counternarcotics police in cooperation with U.S. and Australian experts confiscated more than two tons of illegal substances from four clandestine methamphetamine drug laboratories in three different provinces. Four people, including two Chinese nationals, were arrested.
On March 18, 2009, police arrested three alleged drug traffickers in Phnom Penh and seized more than 25,500 methamphetamine tablets, one pistol, and one assault rifle.
Corruption. The Cambodian government does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of drugs or controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions involving drugs, nor are senior government officials known to engage in or encourage such actions. Nonetheless, corruption remains pervasive in Cambodia, making Cambodia highly vulnerable to penetration by drug traffickers and foreign crime syndicates. Senior Cambodian government officials assert that they want to combat trafficking and illicit drug production; although, corruption, low salaries for civil servants, and an acute shortage of trained personnel severely limit sustained advances in effective law enforcement, recent investigations may indicate a willingness to expose corruption within the police force. On October 9, 2009 a Phnom Penh municipal counternarcotics police chief was suspended and remains under investigation after 8,000 methamphetamine tablets were discovered in his office. This follows an October 2 arrest of another municipal counternarcotics police officer found with approximately 10 kilograms of heroin, 2 kilograms of methamphetamine and one ton of chemicals used to process and manufacture drugs concealed in his home.
Cambodia acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption in September 2007; however, there is no anticorruption law, and only a few provisions of other laws provide criminal penalties for official corruption. Public officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws. Meager salaries contributed to "survival corruption" among low-level public servants, while a culture of impunity enabled corruption to continue among senior officials. Public perception that corruption in Cambodia is rampant is widespread.
A new Penal Code was passed by the National Assembly in October 2009. Several of the articles within the Penal Code address corruption committed by civil servants and court officials, and include penalties for offenses such as misappropriation of public funds, bribery of civil servants, willful destruction and fraudulent embezzlement, and witness tampering. Officials have long stated that passage of the new Penal Code was a prerequisite to an anticorruption law and have indicated that the draft Anti-Corruption Law may be submitted to the National Assembly soon.
Agreements and Treaties. Cambodia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Cambodia is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. Cambodia is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. In the first nine months of 2009, 1,172 square meters of cannabis were destroyed in seven provinces. UNODC and other international organizations agree that cannabis production and cultivation have ceased to be a major concern in Cambodia. However, anecdotal information of cannabis cultivation indicates that the problem persists at a reduced level.
Drug Flow/Transit. ATS is typically trafficked to Thailand or Malaysia, while heroin is smuggled out to Vietnam, China and Taiwan. Heroin and ATS enter Cambodia by both primary and secondary roads and rivers across the northern border, transit through Cambodia via road or river networks, and enter Thailand and Vietnam. Effective law enforcement of the border region with Laos on the Mekong River, which is permeated with islands, is nearly impossible due to lack of boats and fuel among law enforcement forces. At the same time, improvements to National Road 7 to Laos and other roads is increasing the ease with which traffickers can use Cambodia's rapidly developing transportation network--a trend likely to continue as additional road and bridge projects are implemented. Heroin and ATS are believed to exit Cambodia via locations along the Gulf of Thailand--including the deep-water port of Sihanoukville--as well as the river port of Phnom Penh.
Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap suffer from lax customs and immigration controls. According to the NACD, drug traffickers are increasingly using Cambodian airports to smuggle drugs into and out of the country. On April 5, 2009, a 44-year-old Filipino man was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport after he was found trying to conceal 849 grams of heroin in his underwear as he boarded an airplane heading for Shanghai. On March 13, 2009, a Chinese male was arrested by police at Phnom Penh International Airport for trying to board an airplane bound for Taiwan with 809 grams of heroin. On February 6, 2009, a Taiwanese national was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport for hiding 770 grams of heroin in his pants.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. With the assistance of USAID, UNODC, UNICEF, WHO, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and several NGOs, the NACD is attempting to boost awareness about the dangers of drug abuse among Cambodians through the use of pamphlets, posters, and public service announcements. A number of NGOs such as Mith Samlanh, Family Health International (FHI), Korsang, and the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance (KHANA) provide a range of services for high-risk and vulnerable populations, including health services related to illicit drug use, outreach/peer education, HIV prevention interventions, and drug treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration. Most of these NGOs do not specifically target illicit drug users, but have identified illicit drug use as a significant risk factor for the populations they serve, such as street children, youth, and sex workers.
The popularity of crystal methamphetamine, or "ice", has resulted in an increase in users in the injecting drug use (IDU) scene. As heroin and ice become more widely available, which has been the trend over the past few years, there may be a rapid escalation in IDU and concomitant spread of HIV. Approximately 25 percent of current injecting drug users are HIV positive. NGOs, Mith Samlanh and Korsang, operate harm-reduction programs in Phnom Penh. In addition to needle exchange, they provide counseling services, basic and emergency medical care, training on overdose management, education on HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health. They also provide referrals to drug detoxification and rehabilitation services, medical clinics and hospitals, sexual health clinics, monitoring, and other health and non-health services such as vocational training. FHI provides technical, programmatic and financial support to government, NGOs and community partners in strategic information and HIV prevention, care, support, and treatment. KHANA works to reduce drug-related HIV risk by raising awareness among the community about illicit drug use, educating drug users to understand and prevent HIV and health risks associated with drug use, and promoting correct and consistent condom use and responsible sexual choices. NACD and the World Health Organization are working to develop a pilot methadone maintenance program, which will be implemented at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in partnership with Korsang, Mith Samlanh and other NGOs working on drug treatment and rehabilitation issues. The program has been in the planning stages for several years, and is scheduled to start in late 2009.
Drug addicts have historically been treated as criminals by Cambodian authorities and society. Consequently, there has been an over-reliance on law enforcement and prosecution approaches at the expense of demand reduction efforts. However local NGOs claim that the NACD is making an effort to change perceptions and is willing to work with local demand and harm-reduction NGOs to enhance cooperation and skill sharing.
Cambodia has fourteen private and state-owned treatment centers as well as one center run by a local NGO, Mith Samlanh. Given the number of drug users in Cambodia, it is evident that the need for drug treatment services far outstrips the available supply. There are no separate treatment centers for women, although some serve both sexes. Government drug treatment centers are run by several different ministries, from Health to Interior to Defense, with no single unified standard of care. They are primarily compulsory military-style boot camps with an overarching philosophy of detention and control, providing very little in the way of counter addiction counseling and rehabilitation programming. Experts contend that these centers do not meet the real needs on the ground and believe a shift toward community-based drug treatment is needed in order to provide a realistic option for those who are voluntarily in search of addiction treatment services.
Many of the shortcomings detailed in a 2007 joint NACD/Ministry of Health assessment of the government-run centers still exist. While there has been some improvement in past years, such as the incorporation of rehabilitation best practices learned from training funded by the State Department's Anti-Drug Program and provided by the U.S.-based NGO Daytop in 2007, much remains to be done. The centers do not have the capacity to conduct proper physical and psychological intake assessments, lack trained medical staff, do not obtain consent from patients, and do not have the resources to provide follow-up services. Nor do they refer patients to organizations that can provide those services. Instead, the centers rely on confinement, military-style drills, exercise, and religious discipline as the mainstay of the rehabilitation program. The government-run centers are further hampered by lack of funding and rely on donations from local markets, parents and relatives of patients, and the Cambodian Red Cross. Medical treatment for acute distress from withdrawals consists of aspirin and a Chinese herbal spirit-calming supplement when funding permits. During the first six months of 2009, 733 drug users and addicts including four females were admitted to the government-run centers
The Mith Samlanh organization operates a small residential rehabilitation program which offers medically-supervised detoxification, individual and group counseling, and referral into Mith Samlanh's extensive network of vocational training and other services. In the first nine months of 2009, 134 males and 8 females received drug detoxification and rehabilitation services through Mith Samlanh.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. While Cambodia has moved beyond its turbulent political history to a period of relative political stability, the country is still plagued by many of the institutional weaknesses common to the world's most vulnerable developing countries. The challenges for Cambodia include: nurturing the growth of democratic institutions and the protection of human rights; providing humanitarian assistance and promoting sound economic growth policies to alleviate the debilitating poverty that engenders corruption; and building human and institutional capacity in law enforcement sectors to enable the government to deal more effectively with drugs traffickers. One unique challenge is the loss by death of many of Cambodia's best trained professionals in the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979); many of those who survived fled during the subsequent Vietnamese occupation. Performance in the area of law enforcement and administration of justice must be viewed in the context of Cambodia's profound human capacity limitations. Even with the active support of the international community, there will be continuing gaps in performance for the foreseeable future.
Bilateral Cooperation. Cambodian law enforcement authorities cooperate actively with U.S. agencies, including DEA, FBI, Department of State, USAID, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. Approximately 25 law enforcement officials each year receive drug related training at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. Bangkok-based DEA agents provide technical assistance, training, and limited resources to the CADD. The U.S. Department of Defense is concentrating on raising RGC capacity to maintain maritime security and has sponsored several workshops and training events. The Joint Interagency Task Force-West (JIATF-West) provided infrastructure and held two counternarcotics trainings in 2009 for military, gendarmerie, police, and officials from Cambodia's twelve Border Liaison Offices.
Drug use among populations targeted for HIV prevention is a growing concern as needle sharing is the most efficient means of transmitting HIV. USAID HIV/AIDS programs work with populations at high risk of contracting HIV, including sex workers and their clients; men who have sex with men; and drug users. These groups are not mutually exclusive as many sex workers also use and inject drugs. Prevention programs targeting high-risk populations aim to reduce illicit drug use and risky sexual practices.
The Road Ahead. Government actions such as the NACD implementation of yearly action plans in addition to the five year plan; the imminent establishment of a government methadone maintenance program; the National Center for HIV/AIDS/Dermatology/STI's recent plan to refer prisoners to voluntary counseling and testing, the establishment of drug treatment and rehabilitation centers nationwide; and increased law enforcement cooperation with the DEA, FBI, the Australian Federal Police and others, indicate a strong determination to combat drugs. Cambodia is making progress toward more effective law enforcement against narcotics trafficking; however, its capacity to implement a satisfactory, systematic approach to counternarcotics operations remains low. Instruction for mid-level Cambodian law enforcement officers at ILEA and for military, police, and immigration officers by JIATF-West has partially addressed Cambodia's dire training needs. However, after training, these officers return to an environment of scarce resources and pervasive corruption.
In FY10, JIATF-West will carry out training infrastructure renovation projects for the Cambodian National Police, Maritime Police Patrol, and Ministry of Interior Forestry Administration, which will facilitate future JIATF-West training as well as build local capacity. JIATF-West will also conduct two counternarcotics training missions and a small craft maintenance training course. State Department Anti-Drug Assistance (INL) funding projected for FY10 is expected to provide a senior law enforcement advisor who will provide technical assistance to Cambodian law enforcement institutions, specifically in the areas of customs, immigration, and border control.
In 2009, Canada demonstrated continuing resolve to implement its National Anti-Drug Strategy, to reduce the supply of and demand for illicit drugs as well as associated crime. However, as in years prior, Canada remains a significant source for MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) and marijuana that are entering the U.S. market. Canada's continued enforcement efforts have reduced large scale diversion of bulk precursor chemicals across the border, but trafficking of marijuana and Ecstasy continues at high levels. In July, Canadian law enforcement authorities made one of the largest heroin seizures in Canadian history. While Canada maintains an active demand reduction effort, local and provincial authorities continue to include a drug injection site and distribution of drug paraphernalia to chronic users as part of their "harm-reduction" programs. The federal government continues to deliver a sharp message against these programs, which is in line with the International Narcotics Control Board's recommendation for the Government of Canada to eliminate drug injection sites and drug paraphernalia distribution programs because they violate international drug control treaties. Canada and the U.S. cooperate in counternarcotics efforts through increased information sharing and joint operations. Canada is a member of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Canada has a sophisticated and well-educated population and a high-tech economy, which provides criminal entities with technical capabilities that require the law enforcement community to utilize specialized investigative techniques. Canada's highly developed economy and its relatively high standard of living contribute to Canada's status as a significant consumer as well as producer of illicit narcotics. Canada produces significant amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana and is a major source for Ecstasy to U.S. markets. It is also a transit or diversion point for precursor chemicals such as methamphetamine, used to produce illicit synthetic drugs (notably Ecstasy). The illegal drug industry's production and distribution capabilities are sophisticated and diverse.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. In August, Canada announced the Synthetic Drug Initiative (SDI), the first Canadian drug strategy to focus on a single class of drugs. Though this initiative is still in the "strategic concept" phase, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are developing the program with an eventual goal of eliminating illegal synthetic drug production and distribution in Canada and reducing the overall influence of organized crime on drug trafficking in Canada. SDI will target the illicit synthetic drug industry on three fronts: enforcement, deterrence, and prevention. It also aims to inhibit the diversion of precursor chemicals from foreign and domestic sources. The RCMP will pay for the SDI through National Anti-Drug Strategy funds and by re-allocating existing resources. The RCMP has not announced a budget for SDI, but has said that funds will be allocated to domestic and international programs, including modernizing the RCMP's chemical diversion program, hiring new personnel, and improving training and awareness initiatives.
In June, the House of Commons passed new legislation (Bill C-15) on mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug offenders. As of December, the bill remains under consideration by the Senate. Bill C-15 provides mandatory one and two-year minimum jail sentences for various offenses including production, trafficking, possession for the purposes of trafficking, importing and exporting, and possession for the purposes of exporting of illegal drugs. The bill also provides for additional, aggravated penalties when offenses are carried out for organized crime purposes or if they involve selling drugs to young people.
Accomplishments. In 2009, Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies' bilateral efforts resulted in significant interdictions of narcotics arriving in Canada and the U.S. by air, passenger vehicle, truck, small aircraft, and ship, as well as seizures from Canadian drug production operations. Seized drugs included marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, hashish, and Ecstasy.
During February and March 2009, a coordinated effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), RCMP, and U.S. federal and local law enforcement agencies led to the arrest of nine individuals and the seizure of 750 pounds of marijuana, over 80 kilograms of cocaine, 240,000 tablets of Ecstasy, six weapons, and two helicopters. The targeted drug trafficking organization used the helicopters to cross into the U.S. with Canadian-sourced marijuana and Ecstasy in exchange for cocaine destined for Canada. This organization was also linked to numerous marijuana indoor grow operations and a clandestine laboratory, which British Columbia provincial authorities seized in June 2008, and which held more than 1 million Ecstasy pills and 168 kilograms of Ecstasy powder.
On April 2, 2009, Border Patrol agents in Sumas, Washington discovered 126 pounds or nearly 200,000 doses of Ecstasy valued at nearly $2.5 million.
On July 7, 2009, CBP Officers at the Peace Arch Port of Entry in Blaine, WA seized 80.64 kilograms of cocaine and 27.59 kilograms of heroin concealed in a passenger vehicle during an outbound inspection.
Also in July, in a joint operation in the greater Toronto area (GTA), the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA), RCMP, Toronto Police, and Peel Regional Police seized 117 kilograms of heroin, with an estimated street value of $100 million, and more than $600,000 in cash, making it one of the largest heroin seizures in Canadian history.
Law Enforcement Efforts. 2009 law enforcement efforts continued previous trends of joint drug enforcement efforts against steady but diverse distribution patterns of traffickers. Notably, authorities have identified and dealt with failures in information-sharing among Canadian law enforcement agencies that had hampered some counternarcotics enforcement efforts. An RCMP report in 2008 revealed that more than 60 employees at Canada's eight largest airports had criminal links. On March 31, Transport Minister John Baird ordered his department to fix persistent gaps in airport employee screening after Canada's Auditor General also found that "high-risk" criminals were still able to obtain security clearances at Canadian airports due to the failure of Transport Canada and the RCMP to share data. On April 8, the two agencies signed a new information-sharing agreement to conduct expanded criminal background checks for workers with access to secure areas at Canada's airports.
Canadian officials report unofficially that most of the Ecstasy laboratories dismantled in Canada in 2009 were capable of producing multi-kilogram quantities. During 2008, the RCMP dismantled15 Ecstasy laboratories, all of which were capable of producing multi-kilogram quantities, as well as 17 methamphetamine labs, 13 of which had a multi-kilogram capability.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Canada neither encourages nor facilitates illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior government officials are known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Canada has strong anticorruption controls in place and holds its officials and law enforcement personnel to a high standard of conduct. Civil servants found to be engaged in malfeasance of any kind are subject to prosecution. Investigations into accusations of wrongdoing and corruption by civil servants are thorough and credible.
Agreements and Treaties. Canada is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Canada is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. Canada is also a party to: the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials; and, the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. Canada actively cooperates with international partners. The U.S. and Canada exchange forfeited assets through a bilateral asset-sharing agreement, and exchange information to prevent, investigate, and prosecute any offense against U.S. or Canadian customs laws through a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. Canada has in force 50 bilateral mutual legal assistance treaties and 66 extradition treaties. Judicial assistance and extradition matters between the U.S. and Canada operate under a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT), an extradition treaty, and related protocols, including the long-standing Memorandum of Understanding designating DEA and RCMP as points of contact for U.S.-Canada drug-related matters. Unfortunately, the process for executing extradition and MLAT requests is very slow in Canada (e.g., extraditions from Canada can take three years or more on average), and this has impacted U.S. law enforcement's ability to move as quickly and effectively as possible.
Cultivation/Production. Illicit narcotics are predominantly produced by organized crime organizations and gangs, composed of Canadians of East Asian origin (ethnic Vietnamese and Chinese), outlaw motorcycle gangs, and Indo-Canadian criminal groups. Large-scale marijuana cultivation exists in Canada, primarily for consumption in the domestic market. Growers use technologically-advanced organic methods. Large-scale marijuana grow operations are primarily located in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec provinces. Large profits from marijuana production in Canada have allowed traffickers to expand their involvement into other profitable illicit cross-border drug activities, such as expanding Ecstasy and methamphetamine production.
Organized crime dominates the methamphetamine trade, operating large-scale methamphetamine labs capable of producing at least 10 pounds of methamphetamine per cycle throughout the country. According to the 2009Annual Report on Organized Crime prepared by Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), organized crime groups in Canada conduct large-scale Ecstasy production and distribution operations to supply the domestic market, and Canada remains one of the top producers of ecstasy to the global illicit drug market. Precursor chemicals for the production of ecstasy are smuggled into Canada from source countries such as China and India on a regular basis.
Drug Flow/Transit. The CISC's 2009 Annual Report on Organized Crime in Canada estimated that there were approximately 750 organized crime groups in the country, of which most are involved in the illegal drug trade in some capacity. The decline in the estimated number of organized crime groups in Canada compared with the previous report likely is "reflective of an anticipated degree of fluidity in the criminal marketplace," as well as "numerous other factors including disruptions by law enforcement, changes in intelligence collection practices or a combination" of these factors, according to CISC.
Increased smuggling from Canada to the United States included both Ecstasy and combination tablets containing methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs. In 2008-2009, Canadian authorities seized approximately 30 clandestine labs capable of producing large amounts of combination tablets, roughly the same number of laboratories as in the previous reporting period in 2007-2008.
Illustrative of the level of transit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along the Michigan-Canada border seized 2,053 pounds of marijuana, 303 pounds of Ecstasy (approximately 1 million doses) and nearly $7.5 million in undeclared currency entering or exiting the United States from Canada, according to an end-of-the-year report from the agency. CBP officers reporting to the Buffalo field office seized 1,231 pounds of hydroponic marijuana, 118 pounds of Ecstasy (approximately 204,000 pills), and a combined total of $1.4 million in undeclared currency.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Local and provincial authorities continue to maintain a number of so-called "harm reduction" programs, including a supervised injection site research pilot project ("Insite"). The government appealed a May 2008 British Columbia provincial Supreme Court ruling that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to close Insite, which the Court considered a health facility and within provincial jurisdiction. The British Columbia provincial Court of Appeal heard the government's appeal in April 2009, but as of December, the Court is still deliberating on its judgment. Several cities, including Toronto and Ottawa, have also approved programs to distribute drug paraphernalia, including crack pipes, to chronic users.
There has been no change since the UN International Narcotics Control Board's (INCB) 2007 Report noted that the Vancouver Island Health Authority's approval of "safer crack kits" contravened Article 13 of the 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which Canada is a party. The INCB called upon the Government of Canada to eliminate drug injection sites and drug paraphernalia distribution programs, stating that they violated international drug control treaties.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the U.S. and Canada continued information sharing and binational cooperation through the Cross-Border Crime Forum (CBCF), Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET), Border Enforcement Security Taskforces (BEST), and other fora. The 2007 U.S.-Canada Border Drug Threat Assessment jointly released at the CBCF's 2008 Spring Ministerial was a snapshot of cross-border narcotics issues and trends, and is now scheduled to be updated for release in 2011. The interagency forum also addressed counterterrorism, mass marketing fraud, human trafficking, organized crime, border enforcement, drug trafficking, and firearms smuggling--a particular concern for Canada. Provincial, state, and local governments also participate in the CBCF, as do police at the federal, state/provincial, and local/municipal levels. CBCF working groups met throughout the year to develop joint strategies and initiatives and collaborative law enforcement operations that were highlighted during the Ministerial meeting. Canada continues to regularly attend the annual National Methamphetamine and Pharmaceuticals Initiative (NMPI) meeting in the U.S.
In September, there was a Mini CBCF in Washington D.C., primarily to plan for the CBCF Ministerial, tentatively scheduled for the late spring of 2010. Collaborative efforts to be promoted and further explored in leading up to the ministerial include: an IBET Strategic Plan; emerging technologies and challenges for law enforcement; gangs in Canada and the U.S.; bi-national cooperation on firearms tracing; joint cross-border counter-proliferation efforts; and cross-border law enforcement and security Lessons Learned from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
In September, DEA conducted a five-day seminar in Montreal on asset forfeiture and money laundering for 40 members from various law enforcement agencies. In spring 2009, DEA Vancouver and El Paso Intelligence Center personnel provided training in detecting highway drug couriers at a Canadian law enforcement school to more than 400 Canadian officers. During 2009 Canada also participated in supporting naval interdiction efforts as part of Joint Interagency Task Force South. DEA, CBP, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, CBSA, RCMP, and U.S. state, local, and tribal and Canadian provincial officers consult regularly and maintain channels of communication in the field and at management level to ensure a high level of cooperation and effectiveness.
On September 30, 2009 the Canadian government tabled in the House of Commons the Framework Agreement on Integrated Maritime Cross-Border Law Enforcement Operations (IMCLEO or "Ship rider") between the Canada and the U.S. and introduced implementing legislation in November, 2009. The two countries signed the framework agreement in Detroit, Michigan, on May 26, 2009. Once Canada passes implementing legislation, the agreement will allow the exchange of cross-designated ship riders in order to create seamless maritime law enforcement operations across the U.S.-Canadian maritime border. The program will facilitate more effective maritime counter-smuggling efforts by permitting officers from each country to operate from one another's vessels or aircraft.
The RCMP also contributed to a U.S. government effort under the Merida Initiative in Mexico, providing instructors to assist with the training of a new investigative force of 9,000 police in the Mexican Secretariat of Public Security. Recognized at the North American Leaders Summit, this effort began in May 2009 and is expected to continue with Canadian support in 2010.
The Road Ahead. The security of the continent and much of the hemisphere will benefit from continued cooperation between the United States and Canada. Fora such as the CBCF can also serve as a model for regional cooperation and collaboration for senior law enforcement, justice, and security officials to enhance and encourage intelligence sharing, investigative collaboration, and joint training opportunities. The USG encourages Canada to exert its influence in the Caribbean Basin to establish similar fora and to work with the U.S. to explore methods and means for information sharing with other regional partners.
The U.S. also encourages Canada to take stronger action to curb the rise of methamphetamine production. As producers respond to enforcement action elsewhere in the globe, particularly in Mexico, an upsurge in Canadian methamphetamine production has raised the prospect of increased smuggling from Canada to international markets, as well as further production and export of Ecstasy. Canada's continued role as a source country for Ecstasy to U.S. markets highlights the need for greater cooperation in tracking precursor chemical activity. The U.S. looks forward to future collaborative engagement with Canada to build enforcement capacity and regulatory frameworks to promote industry compliance and prevent diversion of precursor chemicals and lab equipment for criminal use. As law enforcement resources temporarily diverted to prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver return to normal routines, a more effective and expansive inspection regime, in conjunction with expedited investigations and prosecutions, will also strengthen enforcement efforts.
With no change in the past year, the U.S. still urges Canada to continue to press municipalities such as Vancouver and Ottawa to implement the INCB's recommendations to eliminate drug injection sites and drug paraphernalia distribution programs as a violation of international drug control treaties.
The U.S. also hopes to see the required legislation passed for implementation of the "Shiprider" agreement. As climate change continues to redefine the maritime approaches to the continent, there will be increasing opportunity and reason for the U.S and Canada to expand collaboration in the maritime domain.
Because of its location in the Atlantic Ocean, along major trade routes between South America and West Africa, Cape Verde is an important transit country for narcotics headed for Europe from South America by way of Africa. Narcotics enter Cape Verde by commercial aircraft and maritime vessels, including yachts. Cape Verde works with international agencies like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and donor governments like the Governments of Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Brazil, and the United States to fight international narcotics trafficking and reduce local demand. Cape Verde is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Cape Verde's strategic location on the maritime and aerial routes between mainland Africa, Europe, and South America makes it an attractive transit point for drug shipments from the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil en route to Europe. The country's numerous beaches, extensive territorial waters, and an inadequately-monitored economic zone allow drugs to pass through undetected. Cocaine is the most trafficked narcotic, mainly coming from Brazil, but crack cocaine, "cocktail" (a mixture of cannabis and crack, called "cochada" in Cape Verde), and locally-cultivated marijuana are also trafficked. There are also reports that Ecstasy is trafficked through Cape Verde from Europe. Cape Verdean authorities are concerned about drug abuse within the prison system and drug-related crime.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Cape Verdean law makes "consumption (of drugs), drug trafficking, and revenues resulting from drug trafficking" criminal offenses, punishable by one to twenty years' imprisonment. In May 2009, the Cape Verdean Parliament approved a new law designed to combat money laundering allowing for greater control of offshore banks, and granting authorities more power to seize assets of drug traffickers. In September 2009, the United States African Command (AFRICOM) and the U.S.
Department of the Treasury sponsored, with the assistance of the U.S. Embassy at Praia and the Cape Verdean Judicial Police, a course in the capital city of Praia on financial investigation techniques and processing of evidence. Representatives from the Cape Verdean Central Bank, Financial Information Unit (FIU), Customs, and Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) attended the course, as well as members of the Judicial Police from Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Cape Verde has two separate law enforcement agencies that fight narcotics trafficking: the Judicial Police and the National Police. The Judicial Police is a unit of the Ministry of Justice with overall responsibility for coordinating criminal investigations. The National Police reports to the Ministry of Interior and are charged with maintaining law and order countrywide. To date in 2009, the Judicial Police has detained 141 persons, primarily Cape Verdean, Nigerian, and Portuguese nationals, for drug trafficking and seized 21 kilograms of cocaine and 640 kilograms of cannabis.
Specific cases included:
* July 10, 2009: two suspects arrested in Sao Vicente for transporting the equivalent of 5, 200 doses of cocaine;
* October 7, 2009: two suspects arrested in Sao Vicente for transporting 164.7 grams of cocaine;
* October 9, 2009: four suspects arrested in Sao Vicente for transporting 63.8 grams of cocaine;
* October 13, 2009: three suspects arrested in Sal for transporting several kilograms of cocaine in the city of Praia; and
* October 27, 2009: the Sal Criminal Court sentenced five individuals to sentences ranging from 12 to 24 years for trafficking 70 kilograms of cocaine. As part of the same proceeding, the court sentenced a Cape Verdean border patrol officer to twenty-five years in prison for involvement in a drug trafficking ring.
Corruption. The government of Cape Verde does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions, but as in other countries, instances of official corruption do occur: in June 2008, three Judicial Police officials were arrested for diverting over 135 kilograms of cocaine seized in a drug investigation to the illicit drugs market. The Judicial Police conducted a full investigation, and the three suspects are currently awaiting trial.
Agreements and Treaties. Cape Verde is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Cape Verde is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Also, on April 23, 2008, Cape Verde ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. Cape Verde is not a significant producer of narcotics. Small quantities of marijuana, however, are sometimes cultivated domestically. In September 2009, for example, the Judicial Police seized 120 kilograms of marijuana cultivated on Santiago Island.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cape Verde is located in the mid-Atlantic off the coast of West Africa, and therefore occupies a strategic location on the maritime and aerial routes between mainland Africa, Europe, and South America. As such, it is an attractive transit point for cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal drugs trafficked to Europe from the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. In addition, narcotics from Europe are sometimes smuggled through Cape Verde. The U.S. has not been identified as a significant direct destination for drugs transiting through Cape Verde.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Commission for Combating Drugs (CNLCD), organized under the Ministry of Justice, is responsible for coordinating Cape Verde's counternarcotics programs. The CNLCD gathers statistics, disseminates information on narcotics issues, and manages government treatment programs for narcotics addiction. It also runs a hotline and manages several public awareness campaigns. In addition, Cape Verde has a drug rehabilitation shelter located on Santiago Island.
Moreover, an administrative body, CAVE INTERCRIN (Cape Verde Integrated Crime and Narcotics Programme), supports the self-sustainable and healthy development of Cape Verde by preventing the spread of illicit drugs, crime, and other antisocial behaviors. CAVE INTERCRIN aims to improve Cape Verde's law enforcement and border patrol capabilities through upgrades to the government's communication and intelligence capabilities, as well as through computer-based training programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the United States and Cape Verde cooperated on many fronts to combat drug trafficking. One of the largest cooperative efforts, led by AFRICOM and coordinated by the U.S. Embassy, is the Counter Narcotics Maritime Security and Interagency Fusion Center (CMIC), an institution to be operated by Cape Verdean military and police to coordinate maritime security and law enforcement.
Moreover, this year the Cape Verdean and U.S. Governments continued their groundbreaking joint law enforcement activities. In June 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed a cutter with a Cape Verdean law enforcement detachment (LEDET) aboard to conduct law enforcement operations in Cape Verdean territorial waters. This mission represented the first multilateral combined maritime law enforcement operation ever conducted in Africa. It also marked the first time a non-U.S. LEDET worked with the U.S. Coast Guard on a U.S. military vessel. In 2009, another LEDET operation, involving four Cape Verdean Coast Guard officers and two members of the Judicial Police on board a U.S. vessel, took place. In addition, the U.S. Government is considering negotiating a Counter Drug Maritime Agreement with the government of Cape Verde to allow future counternarcotics operations.
The Africa Partnership Station initiative, funded by AFRICOM, also continued work with the Cape Verdean military this year, paying for officers to attend training classes. For example, three officials--one each from the Cape Verdean Coast Guard, Judicial Police, and Ministry of Justice, participated in a training program in Dakar, Senegal. Lastly, as described above, AFRICOM and the U.S. Department of Treasury sponsored a course on financial investigation techniques and evidence processing, which was attended by Cape Verdean law enforcement officials.
The Road Ahead. Under current timetables, in 2010 the CMIC will develop into a platform for government-wide information-sharing and further progress will be made on the LEDET program. The United States and Cape Verde are also discussing the implementation of a Status of Forces Agreement, to further improve cooperation on counternarcotics issues.
Chile is a transit country for Andean cocaine shipments destined for Europe. In a new development that surfaced in 2009, Chile has become a source of ephedrine for methamphetamine processing in Mexico. It is also a source of precursor chemicals for use in cocaine processing in Peru and Bolivia and has a domestic marijuana consumption problem. Chile is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Chile is an attractive transit country for drug traffickers because it shares long, difficult-to-monitor borders with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Chile ranked second in per capita cocaine consumption and remains first in marijuana consumption among South American countries, according to the United Nation's 2009 World Drug Report. Some marijuana is cultivated in Chile, but most is imported from Paraguay for use by Chilean teenagers and young adults. Chilean police officials report an increase in drug trafficking from Bolivia in 2009 and a corresponding increase in the domestic supply of cocaine and drop in price. At the same time, however, Chile's National Drug Control Commission (CONACE), which is responsible for formulating and implementing drug policies, released a study in 2009 that showed an increase in the perception of risk associated with drug use.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Chile contributed to worldwide drug control efforts in 2009 by assuming a leadership role in the international counternarcotics community, serving as the president of the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). Chile also hosted a European Union-Latin America and Caribbean drug treatment conference and the International Criminal Police Organization's (INTERPOL) 20th Regional Conference of the Americas.
Chile classified "spice," a mixture of herbs and synthetic cannabinoid compounds that has effects similar to marijuana, as a prohibited drug in April. CONACE maintained its pilot drug court program in Santiago, Valparaiso, Iquique, and Antofagasta. There are now 18 drug courts in Chile, which are similar to U.S. drug courts in offering rehabilitation to drug offenders under judicial supervision. Average processing times for oral judgments in Chile's adversarial justice system increased from 343 in the first half of 2008 to 388 days in the first half of 2009. The increase reflects the challenges associated with managing case loads in the new system, a slight increase in the number of narcotics related cases, and general growing pains.
The Chilean Congress continued to evaluate legislation that would replace CONACE with a National Service for the Prevention of Drug Consumption and Trafficking. The National Service would have responsibilities similar to CONACE, including the development and implementation of drug prevention and rehabilitation policies, but would report to a newly created Ministry of Public Security, which would be exclusively focused on citizen security issues. The legislation is intended to improve government coordination, particularly in dealing with the link between crime and drug use.
Accomplishments. Through June 2009, Chile reported seizures of approximately 1,659 kilograms of cocaine; 2,537 kilograms of cocaine paste; 6,402 kilograms of processed marijuana; and 32,284 units of illegal pharmaceutical drugs. Two police operations resulted in large illegal pharmaceutical seizures, but this does not indicate a new trend. Noteworthy operations included the May 2009 seizure of 243 kilograms of cocaine near Antofagasta in northern Chile. The seizure took place using aerial surveillance and resulted in six arrests.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Chile's counternarcotics law enforcement efforts are led by the Carabineros de Chile (uniformed national police) and the Policia de Investigaciones (investigative police-PDI). Both the Carabineros and the PDI have dedicated counternarcotics units that are considered highly professional and competent. Law enforcement efforts target both street level dealers and major traffickers and their organizations. In 2009, Chilean law enforcement officials uncovered several advanced drug trafficking techniques, including highly compressed cocaine molded into the shape of suitcases. The Carabineros continued to implement "Plan Vigia" (Plan Lookout) in northern Chile in response to increased drug trafficking from Bolivia. The plan, which was initiated in 2008, increased counternarcotics resources in northern Chile, including the introduction of aerial surveillance and the National Customs Service's deployment of two truck scanners that are used to screen cargo at border crossings.
Chile's Coast Guard, the General Directorate of Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine (DIRECTEMAR), is responsible for all maritime law enforcement activities, including counternarcotics. DIRECTEMAR has more than 80 small, medium, and large vessels that patrol the Chilean coastline and waterways and operates two Defender fast boats in Arica to intercept maritime drug shipping. It coordinates with the Carabineros, PDI, and Customs agency to conduct maritime narcotics operations. DIRECTEMAR's ability to confront maritime trafficking is limited by Chile's extensive coastline, which stretches more than 4,000 miles.
Corruption. The Government of Chile (GOC) does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Narcotics-related corruption among police officers and other government officials is not considered a major problem in Chile, and no current Chilean senior officials have been accused of such activities. In cases where police are discovered to be involved in drug trafficking, or in protecting traffickers, simultaneous termination and investigation are immediate. Chile is traditionally considered one of the least corrupt countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Agreements and Treaties. Chile is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Chile is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, and the UN Convention Against Corruption. The 1900 U.S.-Chile Extradition Treaty is currently in force. While the U.S. and Chile do not have a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT), both countries are parties to the Organization of American States' 1992 Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which facilitates mutual legal assistance. Chile has also signed, but not yet ratified, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition.
Cultivation/Production. Chile produces a small amount of marijuana that is consumed domestically.
Drug Flow/Transit. Narcotics enter and transit Chile via legal and illegal border crossings with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Chile's borders with these three countries stretch more than 1,300 miles, and there are approximately 150 illegal border crossings. Rough terrain inhibits efforts to intercept narcotics along the borders. Narcotics transit out of Chile to Europe and possibly the United States by sea. Chile's international ports are generally well monitored, but inspection restrictions established by the treaty ending the War of the Pacific require Chilean authorities to seek permission from the Government of Bolivia to inspect cargo originating in that country and transiting Chile. This impedes efforts to intercept illegal narcotics as it allows some cargo to pass through ports in Arica, Iquique, and Antofagasta without Chilean inspection. Some narcotics also transit out of Chile via international airports in Santiago and Arica.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. CONACE has offices in all 15 regions of the country and offers a wide variety of drug prevention and treatment programs. Prevention programs target schools, families, and the workplace. CONACE has also instituted a community fund that provides grants to local organizations that design and implement prevention programs. Chile offers drug rehabilitation treatment through CONACE and the Ministry of Health at more than 200 health centers around the country. Chile does not promote or sanction harm reduction programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG works closely with Chile to strengthen its ability to confront drug trafficking. Specific U.S. goals include enhanced interagency cooperation among Chilean law enforcement entities, an increase in Chile's ability to conduct international drug investigations, and an increase in counternarcotics resources in northern Chile.
Bilateral Cooperation. Chile is a strong counternarcotics partner and the U.S. works closely with Chilean partners to achieve shared objectives. In 2009, the USG continued to foster interagency cooperation, provide assistance in international investigations, and promote increased resources for northern Chile. The USG and Chile also formed a trilateral development partnership in 2009 to offer assistance, including law enforcement training and development, to other Latin America countries. In addition, the USG and GOC also worked together to address interagency cooperation and complex, international drug investigations. In March, Chilean law enforcement officials attended an anti-money laundering presentation at the U.S. Embassy. In June, police officers from the Carabineros and PDI participated in the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Drug Unit Commanders' Course in Lima, Peru. In August, chemists from Chile's Institute of Health attended a week-long course at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Laboratory in Washington, DC to enhance drug intelligence analysis. In October, DEA officers conducted a five-day Chemical Precursor course in Santiago. DEA offices in Santiago, Lima, and Asuncion continued to support an Officer Exchange Program among their respective host nations in 2009. Officials from the National Prosecutor's Office (Ministerio Publico) also traveled to the U.S. to participate in a chemical precursor course. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) provided resident, mobile, and on-the-job training in maritime law enforcement professional development and command and control to the Chilean Navy. In addition, the USCG held a Regional Joint Boarding Officer course with Argentine instructors in which Chilean personnel participated.
The Road Ahead. The USG commends Chile for its efforts to deal simultaneously with public safety and public health aspects of drug trafficking and drug abuse. The USG encourages the GOC to strengthen interagency cooperation and focus on complex drug investigations and its investment in additional resources for the northern part of the country and for maritime/port investigations. The GOC could enhance its drug control efforts further by passing draft legislation that would expand the list of companies required to register with CONACE due to their involvement with chemical precursors. We also encourage the GOC to add emerging chemicals to its list of controlled items and increase the number of inspections at companies that import, export, manufacture, store, and transport chemical precursors.
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|Publication:||International Narcotics Control Strategy Report|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2010|
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